Shut the Box Game Rules Clearly Explained

The Shut Box is a traditional dice game that has remained popular for centuries. It offers a significant level of strategy, yet it only requires a simple board and two dice.

The Canoga game, also known as Zeppelin Boxes, involves rolling nine dice and using the trick-track to close one of the nine hatches.

Shut the Box Game Summary

Object of the Game

The objective of the game is for the player to achieve the lowest score possible by “shutting” as many numbers as they can.


In order to participate in the game Shut the Box, you will require the following elements:

  • Two six-sided dice.
  • Nine chips or glass pebbles or any type of markers.
  • A mobile application or a notebook and pencil for recording points.
  • One or more dice cups (if desired).
  • You can either print or make your own board with nine squares on it labeled 1 to 9.. However, the game can also be played with a board that has numbers on wooden paddles, which you can easily move or turn instead of using markers (like in certain boxed editions of the game).
  • Shut the Box game board

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    Number of Players

    Shut the Box can be enjoyed by any group of players, although it is most enjoyable with 2 to 5 participants.

    How to Play Shut the Box

    There are many variations of the game that allow you to alter if you choose, but the following rules represent the most traditional or standard version of the game.

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    Place the markers in the center of the table. Distribute two dice and let a starting player choose them. The play will progress clockwise around the table. After each player completes their turn, they can be easily accessed by all players.

    If a player is able to cover all nine number spaces on the board with a marker, which is called a “shut”, they score 0 points and shut the box.

    After taking two actions, you may proceed to roll two dice and place your turn on the empty board in front of you.

  • You can shut off each of those numbered spaces on the board if the numbers on the dice match the numbers on the spaces. However, if the numbers on the two dice are different from each other, you cannot shut them off individually.
  • Close that numbered space if the total of the two dice matches the numbered space and it is currently open. Utilize the combined total of both dice.
  • If you were unable to perform the action, then your turn is over. If you are able to perform one of these two actions, you may continue rolling both dice and then take another turn.

    At the end of the game, calculate the total number of spaces each player has covered while keeping the score.

    If you roll a single die, the number you roll matches the number on the space, and your turn has not ended, you have the option to roll a single die instead of rolling both dice. If you succeed in shutting the number 7, 8, and 9. spaces, your turn ends.

    Each player will get five turns in total, and the player who is determined to be the winner then continues to play for five rounds. (Refer to the rules of Winning Shut the Box below.)


    On your first throw of the turn, you are unable to use both dice individually since the number-space “6” is already shut. Therefore, you can only use the sum of the two dice, which is 5 and 1, to place one marker in the number-space “6” and another marker in the number-space “5” since there is a number-space “11” there. To decide whether to use the sum of both dice, you roll a 5 and a 3. If the sum of both dice is 8, you shut that space and end your turn.

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    Winning Shut the Box

    The participant with the minimum cumulative score at the conclusion of five rounds emerges as the victor.

    Shut the Box Rules Variations

    The regulations of the Shut the Box game can be altered in multiple ways to provide exciting variations every time you participate in it.

    Always Sum.

    Always one of the most commonly played variants of Shut the Box. In this version of the game, you never use the numbers on the two dice separately. You roll both dice and then always sum them together. Then, you may shut any uncovered number-spaces on the board that add up to the sum of the two dice.

    For example, if you rolled a 6 on your first roll and a 3 on your second roll, there are a number of combinations that could follow the one you just made.

  • 4, 3, and 2.
  • 5, 3, and 1.
  • Five and four..
  • 6, 2, and 1.
  • Six and three..
  • 7 plus 2.
  • Eight and one.
  • 9.
  • As per the standard regulations, as long as you can keep closing number-spaces after every roll, your turn persists.

    Also as in the standard rules, you may choose to only roll a single die if you have managed to shut number-spaces 7, 8, and 9. during your turn.

    Always Sum.Duo

    TheAlways Sum.Duo variant plays like theAlways Sum.variant except that on your turn you must shut exactly two number-spaces whose sum is equal to the total of both dice. So for example, if you rolled a 3 and a 6 on your turn, you would have the option of shutting any one of the following combinations of number-spaces:

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  • Five and four..
  • Six and three..
  • 7 plus 2.
  • Eight and one.
  • Kindly be aware that in this specific edition, it is not feasible to shut down every single box. There will consistently be one that stays unclosed.

    Instant Victory.

    If a player is able to shut the box and cover all the spaces with their number during their turn, they win the game immediately in this variant.

    Full House.

    In this game variant, the board consists of a full 12 number-spaces instead of only 9. number-spaces.

    The Extended Play.

    In this variant, when the first player’s turn begins, both dice are rolled and the player who achieves the goal of shutting either the “opening box” or the “shutting box” first is provided with an additional turn. All the number-spaces that have been shut cannot be reset, and instead, the player rolls the dice and attempts to shut all the “open” number-spaces.

    Two to Travel.

    In this version of the game, you must immediately end your turn and shut down your game if you fail to roll a “2” on the first space.

    Three to Go.

    To avoid failure, make sure to immediately end your turn as soon as possible by rolling the dice and moving your token to space number “3”. However, you must skip this step and proceed directly to step 2 if it is similar.

    Defying all expectations.

    Each player’s initial move in the game starts with all even number-spaces already closed.

    Even Stevens.

    Each player’s initial move in the game starts with all spaces numbered with odd numbers already closed.

    3 Down Intense.

    Every player’s first turn of the game begins with the number-spaces 1 through 3 already shut. Only the number-spaces 4 through 9. are available during the first turn.

    Single Round.

    The game is conducted in a solitary cycle, with every player solely receiving one opportunity.

    45 Out.

    The last remaining player is the winner of the game. They are out of the game when a player reaches 45 points. Instead of playing a set number of rounds, they keep a running total of the player’s scores.

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