A grid of Boggle cubes and a sand timer
|Manufacturer(s)||Parker Brothers (now Hasbro)|
|Material(s) required||Paper and writing utensil|
Boggle is a word game designed by Allan Turoff and originally distributed by Parker Brothers. The game is played using a plastic grid of lettered blocks with different nares 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 4x4 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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 4x4 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 5x5 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 4x4 Boggle grid. In the United Kingdom, Hasbro UK currently markets Super Boggle, which features both the 4x4 and 5x5 grid and an electronic timer which flashes to indicate the start and finish. Despite the game's popularity in North America, no version of Boggle offering a 5x5 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.
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 6x6 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 6x6 version|
|9+||2 points per letter|
Other Boggle variants have included:
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. 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.
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, the Western Oregon University Boggle Club, the University of Michigan Boggle Club, Berkeley Boggle Club at the University of California, Berkeley, and Grinnell College Boggle Club.
Unlike Scrabble, there is no national or international governing or rule-making body for Boggle competition and no official tournament regulations exist.