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A grid of Boggle cubes and a sand timer.

Boggle is a word game designed by Allan Turoff[1] and originally distributed by Parker Brothers.[2] The game is played using a plastic grid of lettered dice, in which players attempt to find words in sequences of adjacent letters.


The game begins by shaking a covered tray of 16 cubic dice, each with a different letter printed on each of its sides. The dice settle into a 4×4 tray so that only the top letter of each cube is visible. After they have settled into the grid, a three-minute sand timer is started and all players simultaneously begin the main phase of play.[3]

Each player searches for words that can be constructed from the letters of sequentially adjacent cubes, where "adjacent" cubes are those horizontally, vertically, and diagonally neighboring. Words must be at least three letters long, may include singular and plural (or other derived forms) separately, but may not use the same letter cube more than once per word. Each player records all the words he or she finds by writing on a private sheet of paper. After three minutes have elapsed, all players must immediately stop writing and the game enters the scoring phase.

In the scoring phase, each player reads off his or her list of discovered words. If two or more players wrote the same word, it is removed from all players' lists. Any player may challenge the validity of a word, in which case a previously nominated dictionary is used to verify or refute it. For all words remaining after duplicates have been eliminated, points are awarded based on the length of the word. The winner is the player whose point total is highest, with any ties typically broken by count of long words.

One cube is printed with "Qu." This is because Q is nearly always followed by U in English words (see exceptions), and if there were a Q in Boggle, it would be challenging to use if a U did not, by chance, appear next to it. For the purposes of scoring Qu counts as two letters: squid would score two points (for a five-letter word) despite being formed from a chain of only four cubes.

The North American National Scrabble Association publishes the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD), which is also suitable for Boggle.[4] This dictionary includes all variant forms of words up to eight letters in length. A puzzle book entitled 100 Boggle Puzzles (Improve Your Game) offering 100 game positions was published in the UK in 2003 but is no longer in print.

3, 4 1
5 2
6 3
7 5
8+ 11

Different versions of Boggle have varying distributions of letters. For example, a more modern version in the UK has easier letters, such as only one K, but an older version (with a yellow box, from 1986) has two Ks and a generally more awkward letter distribution.

Using the sixteen cubes in a standard Boggle set, the list of longest words that can be formed includes inconsequentially, quadricentennials, and sesquicentennials, all seventeen-letter words made possible by q and u appearing on the same face of one cube.[2]

Words within words are also allowed, for example: master, the two separate words being mast and aster. Neither the cubes nor the board may be touched while the timer is running.

Boggle game variants[]

Parker Brothers has introduced several licensed variations on the game. As of 2006, only Boggle Junior and Travel Boggle (also marketed as Boggle Folio), continue to be manufactured and marketed in North America alongside the standard Boggle game, apart from a licensed keychain miniature version. Boggle Junior is a much simplified version intended for young children. Boggle Travel is a car-friendly version of the standard 4×4 set. The compact, zippered case includes pencils and small pads of paper, as well as an electronic timer, and notably, a cover made from a soft plastic that produces much less noise when the board is shaken.

Big Boggle, later marketed as Boggle Master and Boggle Deluxe, featured a 5×5 tray, and disallowed 3-letter words. Some editions of the Big Boggle set included an adapter which could convert the larger grid into a standard 4×4 Boggle grid. In the United Kingdom, Hasbro UK currently[when?] markets Super Boggle, which features both the 4×4 and 5×5 grid and an electronic timer which flashes to indicate the start and finish.[5] Despite the game's popularity in North America, no version of Boggle offering a 5×5 grid was marketed outside Europe for an extended period until recently[when?], when Winning Moves Games revived the Big Boggle name for a new version released in 2011. Their variant features a two-letter die with popular letter combinations such as Qu, Th and In.[6]

In 2008, Parker Brothers released a self-contained version of the game with the dice sealed inside a plastic unit, and featuring an integrated timer. Although the older version has been discontinued, some retailers refer to the newer one as "Boggle Reinvention" to avoid confusion.

In 2012, a 6×6 version of the game, named Super Big Boggle, became available. In addition to the two-letter dice with popular letter combinations, there is also a die containing three faces which are solid squares. These solid squares represent a word stop, which is simply a space which may not be used in any word. The other changes are that the time limit was increased from 3 minutes to 4 minutes, 3-letter words are no longer allowed, and there is a modified scoring scheme, outlined below.

Scoring for the 6×6 version
4 1
5 2
6 3
7 5
8 11
9+ 2 points per letter

Other Boggle variants have included:

  • A version of the standard 4×4 set that included a special red "Boggle challenge cube," featuring six relatively uncommon letters. Bonus points are awarded for all words making use of the red cube.
  • Boggle CD-ROM, a version for Windows, produced and marketed by Hasbro Interactive, including both 4×4 and 5×5 versions, several 3-D versions, and facilities allowing up to four players to compete directly over the Internet.
  • Body Boggle, which is more akin to Twister than it is to standard Boggle. Two players work together as a team, using their hands and feet to spell words on a large floor mat containing pre-printed Boggle letters.
  • Boggle Bowl, in which players roll their own dice and compete to build longer words in order to move their token toward their goal on a (bowl-shaped) playing area. Similar to Scrabble, the play area has special spaces, but here they alter the play for the next round.
  • Boggle was once an interactive TV game show hosted by game show veteran Wink Martindale, that aired on The Family Channel (now ABC Family) replacing the interactive version of Trivial Pursuit.
  • Coggle, which functions in a similar manner to Boggle but involves creating a word to fit a particular theme. Was mainly aimed at the French and Canadian market.
  • Boggle Flash. An electronic version of Boggle, but consists of 5 tiles in which 1-10 players make words by swapping tiles. This product is sold in the United States under the name Scrabble Flash[7]

Numerous unofficial computer versions and variants of the game are available. In 2013, Ruzzle, a mobile phone game based on Boggle, topped the most-downloaded iPhone apps chart [8]

Club and tournament play[]

While not as widely institutionally established as Scrabble, several clubs have been established for the purpose of organizing Boggle play. Official Boggle clubs exist at a number of educational institutions, including the Dartmouth Union of Bogglers at Dartmouth College,[9] the Western Oregon University Boggle Club,[10] the University of Michigan Boggle Club,[11] Berkeley Boggle Club at the University of California, Berkeley,[12] and Grinnell College Boggle Club.[13]

Unlike Scrabble, there is no national or international governing or rule-making body for Boggle competition and no official tournament regulations exist.[14]

In popular culture[]

  • Boggle was featured prominently in an episode of King of The Hill entitled "Peggy The Boggle Champ" (Season 1, Episode 9). It also appeared as a cheap Bar Mitzvah gift that Elaine gave to her boss's son in an episode of Seinfeld (Season 9 Episode 3 - "The Serenity Now").
  • Klingon Boggle appeared in The Big Bang Theory (Season 2, Episode 7), although it was referred to much earlier, in the pilot episode.
  • It appeared in an episode of Felicity entitled "Boggled" (Season 1, Episode 4).
  • It is the game of choice for the foxes Nelson and Vince in the BBC 3 sitcom Mongrels, though Nelson has admitted to bending the rules in the first episode.
  • In the TV series Family Game Night, a variation of this game was called "Bounce 'n Boogie Boggle".
  • In the TV series The Simpsons, (Season 23 Episode 6) Lisa Simpson plays an online variety of Boggle.
  • In an episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation entitled "Drop The World: Part I," Holly J and Sav play a game of boggle at the beginning of the episode.
  • It appeared in the movie Balls of Fury.

See also[]


  • Boggle (game show)


  1. Murphy, Mary Beth (1978-12-09). "Toy Designer's Creations Boggle the Mind". Milwaukee Sentinel. sec. 1 p. 10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hinebaugh, Jeffrey P. (2009), A Board Game Education, R&L Education, pp. 57–65, ISBN 9781607092605, retrieved 2013-08-22<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. BOGGLE Game Instructions - Hasbro, Retrieved December 3, 2013
  4. By Dalia Col'n, Board silly? Try these gaming clubs, Tampa Bay Time, Retrieved December 3, 2013
  5. "Hasbro catalog". 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  6. "Winning Moves Big Boggle product listing". Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  7. Scrabble Flash page on Board Game Geek.
  8. Ruzzle Is the First Breakout Hit of 2013
  9. Dartmouth College Student Union site
  10. Western Oregon University Student Union siteLua error in Module:Unsubst at line 14: <strong class="error"><span class="scribunto-error" id="mw-scribunto-error-0">Script error: The function &quot;unsubst&quot; does not exist.</span></strong> requires parameter $N (template name).
  11. University of Michigan Student Union siteLua error in Module:Unsubst at line 14: <strong class="error"><span class="scribunto-error" id="mw-scribunto-error-0">Script error: The function &quot;unsubst&quot; does not exist.</span></strong> requires parameter $N (template name).
  12. "University of California Student Union site". 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  13. "Grinnell Student Union site". 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2012-11-22. 
  14. Turner, Julia (2013-08-01). "Boggle Is Better Than Scrabble". The Slate Group. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 

External links[]