For other uses, see Boggle (disambiguation).

A grid of Boggle cubes and a sand timer
Manufacturer(s) Parker Brothers (now Hasbro)
Designer(s) Allan Turoff
Publication date 1972 (1972)
Genre(s) Word game
Dice game
Players 2+
Age range 8+
Setup time 1 minute
Skill(s) required Language
Material(s) required Paper and writing utensil

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, 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 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 2011, when Winning Moves revived the Big Boggle name for a new version. 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, Winning Moves released a 6×6 version of the game called Super Big Boggle. 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:

Numerous unofficial computer versions and variants of the game are available. By 1989, users of MIT's Project Athena competed in the online game "mboggle".[8] In 2013, Ruzzle, a mobile phone game based on Boggle, topped the most-downloaded iPhone apps chart.[9] Other games similar to or influenced by Boggle include Bananagrams, Bookworm (video game), Dropwords, Letterpress (video game), Puzzlage, SpellTower, Word Factory, Wordquest, WordSpot, Word Streak with Friends, WordTwist, and Zip-It.

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,[10] the Western Oregon University Boggle Club,[11] the University of Michigan Boggle Club,[12] Berkeley Boggle Club at the University of California, Berkeley,[13] CCA Boggle Club at Canyon Crest Academy, and Grinnell College Boggle Club.[14]

Unlike Scrabble, there is no national or international governing or rule-making body for Boggle competition and no official tournament regulations exist.[15]

In popular culture

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Boggle.


  1. Murphy, Mary Beth (1978-12-09). "Toy Designer's Creations Boggle the Mind". Milwaukee Sentinel. sec. 1 p. 10.
  2. 1 2 Hinebaugh, Jeffrey P. (2009), A Board Game Education, R&L Education, pp. 57–65, ISBN 9781607092605, retrieved 2013-08-22
  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. Garfinkel, Simson L. (April 1989). "The Hackers are Still Ahead" (PDF). Technology Review. pp. 4–7. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  9. Ruzzle Is the First Breakout Hit of 2013
  10. Dartmouth College Student Union site
  11. Western Oregon University Student Union site Archived January 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. University of Michigan Student Union site Archived November 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. "University of California Student Union site". 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  14. "Grinnell Student Union site". 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  15. Turner, Julia (2013-08-01). "Boggle Is Better Than Scrabble". Slate. The Slate Group. Retrieved 2013-08-22.

External links

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