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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

How to play Shut the Box

Shut the Box is a traditional game and can be played by one or more players. It is usually played with tiles numbered from one to nine, although there are variations with numbers up to twelve, and two dice. Although the origin of the game is a little unclear there are references going back to roughly the 12th century in Europe and it is believed that is was being played in England in the middle of the last century.

In recent times this game has become very popular again and is a very good mathematical game for teaching children basic numeracy and improve counting skills.

At the start of the game all the numbers are turned up and are facing you. The first player throws the two dice and the numbers thrown are added up and a combination of tiles equalling that number are turned over. So for an example if the dice thrown are showing a 3 and a 6 then the following numbers could be turned down, 9, 1 and 8, 2 and 7 and so on. If the remaining numbers uncovered do not total more than 6 then only one dice is used.

The player carries on throwing the dice until he unable to turn down any more numbers and then his total of the remaining numbers still standing are added, so if he had a 1, 3, and 4 left his score would be 134 and the next player starts his turn. You can play an agreed number of rounds and the winner being the one with the lowest total at the end of play. We now have a smaller travel shut the box version of this game which is great for occupying little minds on long car journeys and a handy addition to take on any holidays.

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