Shut the Box – A Game of Chance and Strategy

The game Shut the Box is a form of a dice game that has been popular since medieval times. 

It is a simple game of chance that involves rolling dice and then matching up the numbers with the numbers on a box. 

The player must then cover the numbers with tiles or lids, or “shut the box” as the game’s name implies.

I know, complicated to understand when I say it in such a short description.

It’s okay, don’t stress much, we’ll be talking about the game in depth right about now.

We’ll be discussing what the game ‘Shut The Box’ is about, the history and prevalence of Shut The Box, Rules for gameplay in Shut The Box, Scoring in Shut The Box, and Odds and Payouts in Shut The Box.

What is ‘Shut the Box’?

Shut the box is a game of chance and strategy. 

It is played with a set of numbered tiles, and the goal of the game is to roll two dice and then “shut the box” by covering all of the numbers on the tiles with the dice.

Shut the Box is a dice game that is played with two dice. 

The objective of the game is to “shut the box” by rolling the dice and eliminating all the numbers on the dice board. 

History and Prevalence Of Shut the Box

The game Shut the Box is thought to have originated in the Norman region of France during the early 19th century, although some sources suggest that the game may have originated even earlier. 

The original game was known as “Casse-tout”, which translates to “break everything”. It is thought to have been a popular game among sailors and fishermen, who used it as a way to pass time during long voyages. And accordingly, It was initially popular among sailors in the French Navy, who would play the game during downtime on board the ship. 

It is also believed that the game was brought to England during the reign of William the Conqueror. The earliest known reference to Shut the Box dates back to 1750 when it was mentioned in a British book of games.

The game was later adopted in England and was played in pubs, taverns, and family gatherings, particularly in the south of England. It is also sometimes used as a gambling game, with the players betting on the outcome of the roll of the dice. It was at this time that the game was given the name “Shut the Box”. 

The game was also popular among the working classes, who found it to be a great way to pass the time. The game has changed a little over the years but the game has become popular in many countries, including the United States, where it is known as Canoga.

The Popularity of Shut The Box Across The Globe

Shut the Box is a dice game that has been popular in many countries around the world for centuries. 

In England and France, it has been a popular pub game since the 1700s. It has also been popular in Germany since the 1800s. 

In the United States, the game has been popular since the late 1800s, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. 

In Asia, Shut the Box is popular in China, Japan, and Korea. 

In China, it is known as 盒子游戏 (Hezi Youxi). In Japan, it is known as カタログゲーム (Katarogu Teemu). 

In Korea, it is known as 색박지 (Saekbakji). 

Shut the Box is also popular in many Latin American countries such as Mexico and Colombia. In Mexico, it is known as “Tapar El Cuadro” (which translates to “Cover the Box”). In Colombia, it is known as “Tapar El Cuadrito”. 

Finally, Shut the Box is also popular in many African countries such as Morocco and South Africa. In Morocco, it is known as “Tazalit”. In South Africa, it is known as “Klap Die Doos”.

Rules For Gameplay In Shut the Box

The Shut The Box Game proceeds in the following order

The objective of the Game ‘Shut The Box’: The game’s objective is to be the first player to close all the numbered boxes on the board. 

Setup of Shut The Box Game: Each player will need one dice, a Shut the Box board, and a marker. Each player takes turns rolling the dice. 

Shut The Box Gameplay: 

  1. On a player’s turn, they will roll the dice and use the numbers rolled to try to close one or more boxes on the board. 
  1. The player may use any combination of the numbers rolled to close one or more of the boxes. 
  1. Once a player has closed a box, they must place their marker on the box and it cannot be opened. 
  1. If the player cannot close any boxes, their turn is over and their score is the total of the boxes that remain open. 
  1. The game ends when one player has closed all of the boxes. 
  1. The player with the lowest score wins. 


  1. If a player rolls doubles, they are allowed to roll again and add the numbers together. 
  1. Players can agree to play with more than one die and use the numbers rolled to close multiple boxes. 
  1. Players can agree to play with a set number of turns and the player with the lowest score at the end of the set number of turns wins.

Shut the Box Scoring Points

The scoring in Shut the Box is quite simple. 

Each time a player rolls the dice, they must close as many boxes as possible, with the score being the sum of the numbers on the boxes they close. 

For example, if the player rolls a 3 and a 4, they can close boxes 3 and 4 and their score would be 7. 

If they are unable to close any boxes, they lose the round and their score is 0. 

At the end of the game, the player with the highest score wins.

Odds And Payout In Shut The Box

The odds of winning the Shut The Box dice game depend on the number of “boxes” (numbered tiles) used and the number of boxes that are open at the start of the game. The more boxes used the more boxes that are open, and the higher the odds of winning. 

Generally, the odds of winning with 7 boxes is about 1 in 8. The payout for Shut The Box is typically based on a set of predetermined odds. 

For example, if you are playing with 7 boxes and win, you might be paid out at 1 to 1 odds. If you are playing with 10 boxes and win, you might be paid out at 2 to 1-odds. 

However, these payouts can vary depending on the particular casino or game being played. The payout for the game will also depend on the number of boxes that are left open after the player has rolled the dice. 

Generally, the fewer open boxes, the higher the payout. If a player manages to close all of the boxes, they are usually rewarded with a bonus payout.


You should be responsible when playing any game. 

Gambling games can be especially addictive, so it’s important to know your limits. 

Make sure to set a budget for yourself and stick to it and not chase losses in false hopes of winning that one time which will compensate for every other loss.

Also, take breaks and not spend too much time playing games.

sarah manning
Sarah Manning

Sarah Manning, a luminary in professional poker, boasts a decorated career spanning over a decade. Renowned for her strategic acumen and numerous championship titles, Sarah not only dominates the tables but also mentors aspiring players. Her mentorship extends beyond coaching, delving into strategic analyses shared in poker publications. Sarah's passion lies in unlocking the intricacies of the game, dissecting its dynamics, and shaping the next generation of poker enthusiasts.

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