April 24, 2024
Shut the Box is an ancient game that is enjoyed worldwide for its simplicity, probability-based gameplay, and endless strategic possibilities. This comprehensive guide covers step-by-step guides, advanced strategies, variations worldwide, tournaments, playing with children, learning online, and the game's history.


Shut the Box is one of the oldest and most beloved tabletop games in existence. Its simplicity and versatility have made it a mainstay in households, bars, and even at competitive events around the world. Our comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about playing shut the box, including step-by-step guides, advanced strategies, variations worldwide, tournaments and competitions, playing with children, learning online, and the game’s history.

Step-by-Step Guide to Playing Shut the Box

Shut the Box is played with a set of dice and a numbered board of tiles. The objective of the game is to turn down all tiles with the highest possible score. The numbers on each tile match the numbers on a pair of dice. Here are the gameplay steps:

  1. Each player rolls the dice to determine who goes first.
  2. To begin a turn, the player rolls the dice.
  3. The player then chooses which tiles on the board to flip down that match the total of the dice roll. For example, rolling a 6 and a 4 allows a player to flip down any tile(s) totaling 10 – in this case, any from two to ten could be flipped down.
  4. The turn ends when the player can no longer flip any tiles corresponding to their dice roll.
  5. The game ends when all tiles have been turned down.

Advanced Strategies for Shut the Box

Shut the Box relies heavily on probability and mathematics, so being able to calculate odds is crucial. Here are a few advanced strategies to help you up your game:

  • Take calculated risks: Sometimes, it may be difficult to flip down all tiles that match the total of the dice roll. Don’t be afraid to leave a tile up if the chances of flipping it down are low.
  • Manage resources effectively: The final stages of the game are the most challenging. Conserving dice rolls and keeping more tiles on the board means you have more chances to flip them down when you need them the most.

Shut the Box Variations Around the World

Shut the Box has many variations worldwide, and each one has its own unique set of rules. Here are some variants:

  • China: In China, shut the box is known as Dai Siu and is played with two dice. The rules are similar to standard shut the box, with the exception that if a player rolls a double, they must flip a tile that corresponds to the same number on both dice.
  • Japan: The Japanese version of the game is known as Bakaratari, and the player must roll the dice and flip down tiles that correspond to the dice’s addition. The objective is to leave only tiles numbered 7, 8, and 9 face-up.
  • India: In India, shut the box is known as Kachra and is played with a single die. The board consists of only six numbered tiles, and the objective is to shut the box with as few rolls as possible. The player has to turn down the highest-numbered tile first, then the next highest-numbered tile, and so on.

Shut the Box Tournaments and Competitions

In recent years, shut the box has seen an upsurge in popularity around the world. Today, there are regular tournaments and competitions held in various countries, including the UK and USA. These events bring together players of various skill levels and allow players to take part in a friendly and competitive atmosphere. Some of the players who have been consistently successful in shut the box tournaments include Nick Kuefner, Justin Nava, and Fabian Herger.

Tips for Playing Shut the Box With Children

Shut the Box can be enjoyed by players of all ages, but some variations of the game may be too complex for young children to understand. To make the game more child-friendly, here are a few tips:

  • Start with a smaller board: Younger children may struggle with larger boards that have multiple numbered tiles. Starting with a smaller board with fewer tiles can help them build their confidence and understanding of the gameplay.
  • Limit the dice rolls: Children may find it challenging to calculate the sum of the dice rolls and flip down the corresponding tiles. Limiting the number of dice rolls per turn can make the game less frustrating and more enjoyable for them.
  • Make the game competitive: Adding a prize or creating a simple scoring system can make the game more competitive and incentivize children to improve their gameplay skills.

Learning Shut the Box Online

As with most traditional tabletop games, shut the box has been adapted for online play. Many websites provide tutorials, online games, and other resources that can help players learn how to play the game and improve their skills. Some of the popular online resources are Playdrift, Multiplayer-shut-the-box, and Arkadium.

The History of Shut the Box

The game of shut the box has been enjoyed for centuries. Some historians trace its origins back to medieval England. It gained popularity in the 17th and 18th centuries and was commonly played in pubs and taverns. The game’s name is derived from the practice of knocking down the closing latch on a wooden box.


Shut the Box continues to entice players worldwide with its easy-to-learn rules and endless possibilities for strategy. Whether you’re playing casually with family or competing in a national tournament, shut the box is a classic game that has something to offer everyone.

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