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What is Boggle®?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
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Boggle® is a word game developed in 1972 by Alan Turoff. It was first marketed by Parker Brothers, which is now a subsidiary of the Hasbro Company. The game appeals to many, and is excellent for play on family game night, or in large groups. Boggle® is especially popular among Scrabble® players, because it takes a very short time, three minutes, to play a round, but still tests ability to quickly find as many words as possible.

The rules of Boggle® are fairly simple to follow. In playing the game at home, players shake and then arrange sixteen cubes, each with a single letter per face (Q is the exception and means Qu), into a square. Players agree upon acceptability of various words, like those containing profanity, and may agree on using a specific dictionary. For dedicated bogglers, dictionary choice is usually The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. Variants of the game include using 25 cubes to form a 5 x 5 squares, which can help in finding much larger words.

A time turner, or egg timer is employed to allow players three minutes to write down as many words as possible from the cubed set of letters. Words must be a minimum of three letters, and letters must be adjacent to each other when forming a word. A single word cannot employ a single cube more than once, but you can move vertically, horizontally or diagonally to the next letter in order to form a word.

Standard rules call for players to read out their words at the end of each round. Any duplicate words are not scored. Dedicated Boggle® players try to look for longer and less common words, to get higher scores and to avoid word duplication by other players. Lower scores are common when the group of players is large. If you’re only playing with one or two other people, higher scores usually prevail.

Unique words are scored by length. Three and four letter words garner one point apiece, five letter words earn two points, six and seven letter words earn three points, and anything above seven letters earns eleven points. Remember in most games, you must be the only person who finds the word in order to earn points. Some games end with a zero tie when players are equally matched in word knowledge. Boggle® players may spend their time looking for the largest words possible, instead of bothering with shorter more common words, in order to win the round. The largest words possible are seventeen letters long, as Q is counted as two letters, Qu. Seventeen letter words, like inconsequentially, are only possible on a boggle board that contains the Q tile.

There are several Internet Boggle® sites like WEBoggle, that allow you to play online. If you’re a quick typist, you can usually score much higher in the time allotted than you would if you were handwriting the words. WEBoggle scores slightly differently than the traditional Boggle® game. Each player is given an individual score, and also gets a list of unique words he/she found. Duplicated words are counted, since over 100 players may participate in a single game. Curse words are allowed, so this may not be the best site for the young player. Further, unfortunately, some computer programs can find most words on a Boggle board in less than four minutes, and cheaters do exist. Despite that, the game can still be great fun, and highly addictive for lexophiles.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseTour contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

By anon235909 — On Dec 20, 2011

At the same time everyone is given the same letters. When you find while you earn points according to the words. Selected letters will be given to you in connection with letters at least three letters long.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseTour contributor, Tricia...
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