Been wondering how to win the shut the box game? Our latest blog teaches you the rules for playing and winning strategy with video instructions included. BUY SHUT THE BOX HERE.

How to Play Shut the Box

How do you play Shut the Box? Here is a rundown of how Shut the Box is played.


  1. You can play alone or with friends. Groups of 2 or 4 people work best.
  2. The box starts with all spaces open.
  3. Players roll to see who goes first. The player with the highest number rolled starts the game.
  4. On their turn, each player rolls and covers the numbered spaces.
  5. The round ends when each player has taken a turn or when a player covers every space on the box.

Shut the Box Rules

At the start of the game, each number space should be uncovered. If playing with a group of people, each person should roll the dice to determine the order the game will be played in. The person who rolls the highest number goes first. Here are detailed Shut the Box game rules:

Each player starts their turn by rolling the dice. The player then adds up the dots facing up on the dice. The player may then choose any combination that makes up the number shown by the dice and covers the number spaces accordingly.

For example, if the player throws a 5 and a 6 on their first roll they would have a total of 11. They may then cover either the 9 and the 2 spaces, the 8 and the 3 spaces, the 7 and the 4 spaces, the 5 and the 6 spaces, the 8, 2, and 1 spaces, the 7, 3, and 1 spaces, the 6, 4, and 1 spaces, or the 6, 3, and 2 spaces.


The player continues to roll and cover spaces until they either roll a number that has no combinations left to cover or they cover every space. The combination of the numbers left uncovered after the turn is over is the player's score.


After every person has had a turn, the player with the lowest score wins. If a player covers all the spaces on their turn then they win immediately and a new round should be started.

Shut the Box Strategy


You should choose your Shut the Box strategy before you begin playing. Here are the basic strategies you can choose from.

  1. Choosing Spaces Randomly

One strategy is to randomly choose a set of spaces that equal the sum of the dice roll to cover. This strategy may work out for you or it may not, it’s random.

  1. Cover the Fewest Spaces

Another strategy is to choose to cover the fewest number of spaces per turn. This strategy gives you more options for future rolls but also increases the risk of having a higher score at the end of your turn.

  1. Cover the Most Spaces

The opposite strategy would be to cover as many spaces as possible per turn. This is a good strategy to use if you are trying to cover the entire box, but it adds the risk of running out of moves early in the game.

How to Win Shut the Box

Now that you know how to play and know the different strategies, here are some tips on how to play better and how to win.

  1. Try to go first. You have an advantage Because you can cover the box completely before anyone else has a turn.

  1. Choose your strategy. You should always have a strategy planned before the game starts. Stick to your strategy and don’t switch strategies part-way through the game.

  1. Cover large numbers first if possible, that way you have a lower score at the end of your turn.

  1. Try to get every space covered. If you can do this, you win automatically.

  1. At the end of the game, if no one covered every space, and if you have the lowest score, you win!

For more wooden puzzle games, check out here!

septembre 25, 2017 — Sean Allan



Sally said:

Shut the Box is one of the fun games to play with kids and family! I like it. Thanks for sharing.


Frankie said:

I often use Shut the Box Game to decide who will be the first player for other games. It becomes popular among my group.

Bob E

Bob E said:

I’ve been playing “Shut the box” in various south of England pubs since the early 1960s.

Our rules have always been….

If a player shuts the box the “round” continues…
If a second player also shuts the box then, at the end of the round the losing players double the amount they originally put into the kitty and the two winners then play off against each other to see who takes the kitty.
Also in all cases, the winner is the player with the lowest score as a number value… Not sure how to clarify that but the remaining numbers after ones “play” are read out from left to right… So 1 2 3 is one hundred and twenty three and is beaten by for example 89 (eighty nine)
That’s how I’ve always played this game and still have my old old box…

Just my thoughts on a good entertaining pub game…

Have Fun Bob E (In the New Forest of good old England)

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