How to Play Shut the Box (Dice Game): Rules & Variants

Shut the Box is a traditional dice game also known as Blitz, Canoga, Klakers, Jackpot, and Batten Down the Hatches. This game will let you spend quality time with your family and friends during your holiday.

There are dozens of great dice games out there and Shut the Box game is one of them. This game is played by two or more players with a pair of dice and a special board or tray that has numbers 1 to 9 on it.

The object of the game is to shut or lower as many numbers of tiles as you can and obtain the lowest score. This object varies depending on the variation of this game as there are many variations of the game that have been played for over a thousand years.

If you want to know how to play Shut the Box, read on. This blog post is the ultimate guide on how to play the Shut the Box dice game. Throughout this guide, we will let you know everything you need to know regarding this game.

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So, are you ready to jump into the depths of the article?

Key Takeaways

  • Shut the Box comes from Northern France and is known by a variety of names including Blitz, Canoga, Jackpot, and Batten Down the Hatches. 
  • This game can be played alone or with multiple players, making it a versatile option for different situations. 
  • There are many variations of the game, which can make the gameplay more interesting and challenging.

About Shut the Box

1. Front Porch Classics Circa Shut-the-Box – Editor’s Choice

  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.5 x 3.25 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • ASIN: B000NDZ0QS
  • Item model number: 53501
  • Manufacturer recommended age: 8 years and up
  • Front Porch Classics Circa Shut-the-Box
  • Front Porch Classics Circa Shut-the-Box
  • Front Porch Classics Circa Shut-the-Box

This is a simple and fun game that can be played anywhere and is suitable for people of all ages. It is often played in bars, pubs, and family gatherings as well as a fun way to pass the time with friends. 

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Two or more players shut the box game board, and a scorepad is all you need to play this game. If you don’t have shut a box game board, purchase dice trays that have hinged scoring tiles with the number 1 to  9 printed on them.  

The aim of the game is to shut or lower as many number tiles as possible during your turn. Players take turns rolling a pair of dice and then using the numbers rolled to lower corresponding tiles on the game board.

2. GrowUpSmart 4-Way Shut The Box Dice Game – Editor’s Choice

  • Number of Game Players: ‎2, 4
  • Material Type(s): ‎Wood
  • Colour: Multicolor
  • Product Dimensions: ‎30 x 3.5 x 30 cm; 760 Grams
  • Item part number: GUS-SHUT
  • Item Weight: ‎760 g
  • The Box Dice Game
  • The Box Dice Game
  • The Box Dice Game
  • The Box Dice Game
  • The Box Dice Game

How to Play Shut The Box

This game is easy to learn and the simplicity of this game makes it more interesting and unique. This game does not require strategy, skills, and hard rules to learn. Knowing the proper rules are enough to play and win the game. So, here are the rules you must take a look at. 

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Setting up is an easy task that only includes preparing the dice tray to play the game. If you are using a dice tray with scoring tile, just flip all of the, up to all the numbers. 


Here are the basic steps to play the game.

  • The player must determine the first player to play the game and then the player takes turns by rolling two dice. 
  • The player adds up to the number on the dice and then lower an equal number of the dice that corresponds to that number. For instance, if a player rolls a total of 7 on dice then he can lower 7, 5+2, 4+3, 6+1. 
  • The same player continues to roll the dice and close numbers in the same until there are no combinations of open numbers left equalling the roll. 
  • if a player cannot close any more tiles or closes all the flaps, the active player’s turn is over and 
  • When a player’s turn ends, the combined sum of the open numbers is recorded or written on the notepad as a score. 
  • Once the player’s score is recorded, the turn passes to the next player and he does the same. 

Shut The Box Scoring 

There are various scoring systems you will see in different variants of the game. Let’s take an eye on all of them. 

Golf: This is one of the easiest ways to determine the winner. The player with the lowest sum of open numbers wins the game. 

45: This is another scoring variant when more than 2 players are playing the game. In this variant, the sum of the open number is added to the total of the previous turn at the end of each turn. When a player’s score reaches 45 or higher, he is out.  

Missionary: The value of the open numbers doesn’t count, only how many numbers remain open. The player with the lowest amount of open numbers wins the game.  

Other Variants 

Shut the Box has been played for well over a thousand years with many variations. So, here are a few of the more common ones: 

1. The Long Game

In this variation, the player aims to close the numbers as usual. But at the end of the first player’s turn, the second player tries to open the closed number instead of closing the numbers. Play continues likewise until the first player closes all the numbers or the second player opens all of them.  

2. Jackpot 

In this variant, the player rolls two dice which only allows closing the sum of the roll, the exact number shown on each dice, or the number shown on only one die. For instance, if a player rolls 4 and 5, the player may choose to close the 3, the 4, or the 7 only.  

The scoring of this variant depends on the sum of the numbers left open and the player who scores the lowest point wins the game.  

3. Unlucky 7

In this variant, when a player rolls 7, he immediately loses the game and scores a 43. Isn’t it interesting? If you want to add more fun to the game then try this version of the game.  

4. Even Stevens 

This is the reverse of all odds. The game starts with the even numbers and the odd numbers closed. 

Final Thoughts 

Overall, Shut the Box is a classic game that has stood the test of time, and continues to be a popular choice for families, friends, and gamers. The simplicity of the game makes it a great addition to any game collection, and a fun way to spend time with others.

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