The appeal of this classic game is that any number of people can play and there is very little set up needed. In Boggle, players attempt to make as many words as they can from a random assortment of letters in three minutes.
How to Play
- Put the game together. Start by putting all of the letter dice in the game board, then put the dome-shaped cover on top.
- Give every player a pencil and paper.
- Scramble the letters. Pick up the grid with the dome on top and the cubes inside. Turn the domed grid upside down and shake to scramble the dice. Turn the grid right side up and give it a few gentle shakes until all of the dice fall into place. You want each letter die in its own space before you start.
- Set a time for three minutes. There is an hourglass timer included, but you can use any timer you have, set to 3-minutes.
- Find words by “chaining” letters. The goal of Boggle is to score points by finding words in the random letters in the grid. The letters you use must be touching vertically, horizontally, or diagonally in a chain. You can’t skip or “jump” across letters.When you find a word, write it down on your paper. Words must be different, even if the same word appears more than once in the grid, you may only count it once.
- Words must be at least three letters long. Very short words, like “I,” “an,” and so on are not allowed.
- The same letter can’t be used twice in the same word. When you’re making a word, you can only use each die once. For example, if you make the word “neon”, you can’t use the “n” at the start of the word again at the end of the word.You can (and should) use the same letter multiple times in separate words. For example, if you find the word “tear,” you can use the “a” in words like “apt,” “part,” and so on.
- Words can go in any direction. The words you find don’t have to go right-to-left. They can go up, down, backwards, forwards, and diagonally as long as all of the letters are connected in a chain and each letter is used only once.
- Any word found in an English dictionary is allowed. It’s a good idea to have a dictionary handy when you play Boggle to settle disputes. If you can find a word in the dictionary, it’s “fair game.”
- Plural forms of words count as separate words. For example, if you see the word “apples,” you are actually allowed to write down two words: “apple” and “apples.”
- Words-within-words are allowed. For example, if you see a word like “Webster,” you can also write down “web” “webs.” This is an excellent strategy for scoring as many points as possible.
- Know which sorts of words are usually disallowed. Some players choose not to allow the types of words listed below. However, these words are not specifically mentioned in the official Boggle rules provided by Hasbro, which only say that words have to be in a dictionary to count.Proper nouns (i.e., names of specific people, places, etc. that start with a capital letter). Examples: “Mary,” “Cairo,” “Microsoft.”
- Abbreviations and contractions (i.e., words that use periods or apostrophes to take the place of letters). Examples: “can’t,” “A.C.L.U.”
- Words borrowed from languages other than English. Examples: “tete,” ‘bushido,” “mazeltov.”
- Stop writing when the timer runs out. As soon as the three minutes are over, all players must set their pencils down. Even if you notice new words after this point, they can’t count towards your score.
- Have each player read off his words. Starting with the player who shook the Boggle grid, all players take turns reading the words they wrote down. As other players read their words, look at your own list and see whether you wrote down any of the same words.Whenever two or more players have written down the same word, all players cross this word out. The word will no longer be able to score points for any player.
- When it’s your turn to read your words, ignore words that you’ve already crossed off. You’re only trying to name words that there’s a chance no one else noticed.
- Count up the letters in your scoring words. When all the players have narrowed their lists down to only the words that no one else has, have them count the number of letters in these words. The number of letters determines how many points each word is worth.
- Score each word by its number of letters. The official Boggle scoring rules are as follows:Three or four letters: One point
- Five letters: Two points
- Six letters: Three points
- Seven letters: Five points
- Eight letters or more: Eleven points
- The “Qu” cube counts as 2 letters even though it takes up one space in the grid.
- Total up all players’ points. Have all the players add up the points from their scoring words. The winner for the round is whoever has the most points overall.Alternatively, you can play multiple rounds and have the winner be the first person to reach 50, 100, or more points. The official Boggle rules suggest both game styles.