Boggle is a word game. You get a bunch of letters (16 in the standard board game) and have to make as many words as you can with them.
The goal of the game is to have the highest score.
Setting up a Game of Boggle
What you’ll need:
- Boggle Game (including 16 letter cubes, grid, and dome).
- A Timer
- Paper & a Pencil for each player
Make sure all the letter cubes are in the grid. Put the dome lid on, turn it upside down, and shake, shake, shake. Flip it right-side-up and gently shake until all the cubes are in the grid.
When you’re ready to start, remove the dome and start the timer.
Other Ways to Play
No game? No problem! There are numerous other ways to play Boggle.
You can grab a Book of Word Grid Puzzles. Puzzle books will have pages and pages of grids pre-filled with letters. You just open the book, set a timer, and start finding words.
You can use a piece of paper and Make Your Own word grid. Fill it in with random letters, set a timer, and go.
You can also find Digital Boggle Grids online. Type “Boggle Generator” into your favorite search engine and choose the one that you like best.
How to Play Boggle
- Boggle is a game played silently. Each player should be focused on their own paper and finding as many words as possible.
- It’s important to make sure that the players have privacy. It’s considered cheating to copy words from another person.
- Words must be made from connected letter cubes (basically, letters that form a chain). The letters may connect in any direction: horizontally, vertically, diagonally, up, down, forwards, or backwards.
For example, the red “R” can connect to P, E, S, T, I, A, H, or E but it cannot connect to any letters in the far left column or the bottom row.
- Each letter cube may only be used once per word.
- You can use any word found in a regular dictionary. However, many players choose to exclude:
- proper nouns (names of people and places, like Bailey or London)
- abbreviations (short forms of words, like ASAP)
- contractions (two words combined into one, like can’t)
Decide before you begin playing if you’ll allow these types of words or not.
- A standard game of Boggle is 3 minutes long. when the timer stops, players must put down their pencils.
There are two methods of Boggle scoring.
Option 1) Every word gets scored.
Option 2) Only words that no other player wrote down get scored.
If you’re playing by option 2, when the timer dings, players will take turns reading their word list. Any word that appears on 2 (or more) lists, gets crossed off and receives zero points.
Once you know which scoring method you’ll use, it’s time to add up your points.
Each word is worth a set number of points depending on how long it is.
|# of Letters||Points (per word)|
|3 & 4||1|
Note: the Qu cube is considered 2 letters!
Additional Scoring Rules
- Each word can only be scored once. If a word is found twice or a word has two meanings, it will only earn points once.
For example, pen is found twice AND it can mean a writing utensil or a place to hold animals. However, you would only earn 1 point for pen.
- Singular and Plural words are separate and can each be scored.
For example, if you found the word “hear” and “hears” you would earn points for both (1 point and 2 points).
- Spelling variations can all be counted.
For example, theatre and theater are both in the dictionary so even though they mean the same thing, they’re considered two separate words.
Boggle Strategies for High Scores
Use these three strategies to find higher scoring words so you can win when playing Boggle!
Use Plurals, Prefixes, and Suffixes
Plurals, prefixes, and suffixes can turn one word into two (or three or more).
Plurals occur when you add -s or -es to the end of words.
For example, “see” counts for 1 point and “sees” counts for another point. This gives you two points total.
A prefix is a group of letters placed before the root of a word. A suffix is a group of letters placed after the root of a word.
For example, “rate” counts for 1 point and “derate” counts for another 3 points. This gives you four points total. You could go further and have “derates” for another 5 points, and on and on.
The most common prefixes are de-, en-, em-, in-, im-, re-, un-, dis-, mis-, pre-, over-.
The most common suffixes are -ed, -en, -er, -ly, -est, -ful, -ing, -ion, -ous.
Focus on Longer, Less Common Words
It’s easy to find short, common words. But they’re worth very few points. Longer words, on the other hand, are found by fewer players and earn a lot more points per word.
For example, the word ‘Critique’ is 8 letters and uses the Qu cube in the middle. It will earn 11 points and most players will miss it.
One 11-point word is the same as finding eleven 3- or 4-letter words. It’s the same as five 5-letter words plus one 3- or 4-letter word.
Or, using our example grid, you can write “Theaters” for 11-points and “Theatres” for 11-points. That’s 22 points!
A lot of letters can be rearranged to spell other words. Choose a word and look at what other words can be made from that arrangement.
Take for example the letter block S-E-R-H-A. The first word I see is “share” but those letters can also spell shear, hare, hares, hear, sear, ear, and many, many more.
Got more questions? You’re not alone! Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Boggle.
How many players do you need?
It’s recommended 2+. There is no maximum number of players.
It’s possible for one person to play alone but it won’t be competitive.
What dictionary is okay to use?
Any regular English dictionary is fine. Some people prefer to use a Scrabble dictionary.
Personally, I use dictionary.com because it’s easy to remember and I can access it anywhere.
How can I make the game easier for beginners or young players?
There are a couple of ways to make the game easier for beginners or young players.
- Allow them to use any letters to make words even if the cubes don’t connect.
- Have players work together (in pairs or small groups) so they can help each other.
- Change the timer length. For many beginners or young players, 3-minutes is too long and they’ll begin to grow frustrated once they’ve found all the “easy” words.
- Change one cube into a “free” letter. It can be a set rule before the shake (such as Qu is always any letter) or you can choose a cube after the shake based on how the letters fall.
Get Boggle Puzzles
Now that you know how to play Boggle, why not grab a Word Grid book or the game and play!