The classic game comprises a covered tray with 16 letter cubes, each with six random letters on its sides. After shaking the cubes in the tray, players have a Timed Mission: Write down as many words as you can find in the 4×4 array within three minutes. Words count when the letters are touching vertically, horizontally, and diagonally from each other. A die cannot be used more than once or be jumped over. After the time expires, players compare their lists and cross out duplicated words. Longer words score more points.
Many variants of Boggle exist, including Big Boggle, which has 25 letter cubes in a 5×5 array. Wink Martindale adapted Boggle for his Family Channel game show block in 1994.
List of variants:
- Boggle (1972)
- Big Boggle (1979)
- Scrabble Boggle (2009)
- Super Big Boggle (2012)
- Thematic Boggle (1977)
- Body Boggle (1984)
- Boggle Bowl (1987)
- Boggle Jr. (1988)
- Boggle Flash (2010): Known as Scrabble Flash in the US.
Boggle contains the following tropes:
- Adaptation Expansion: Big Boggle raises the number of dice to 25. Super Big Boggle raises it up further to 36.
- The points max out at 11 for 8+ letter words. Super Big Boggle has a two-point bonus for extra letters each beyond the 8-letter limit. For example, the word "absolutely" (10 letters) is worth 15 points.
- Only one unique word can be used in a round. Should more than one person write the same word, that word is worth no points.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The timer in Scrabble Boggle flashes from green to yellow to red as time depletes.
- Difficult, but Awesome:
- "Qu" and the two-letter dice in Big Boggle and Super Big Boggle counts as two individual letters.
- Any of the more unique words gives less of a chance of duplication.
- Developer's Foresight: Two rules are present to avoid forms of Loophole Abuse:
- A word cannot be counted more than once for multiple definitions (such as "tear" for rip and cry).
- A word that appears more than once on the board all count as one word.
- Interface Screw: The letters appear in random orientations once done shuffling.
- Non Standard Game Over: No player can touch the grid or dice when in play. Subverted as the rules do not say anything about what penalties are suffered. Typically the round prematurely ends due to dice falling off or switching faces.
- Official Game Variant: While Big Boggle and Super Big Boggle raise the minimum word length to four letters, but the official rules allow players to drop the requirement to three letters.
- Score Milking: Enforced by the game's official rules. Plurals, tenses, defined proper nouns (e.g. "John" for toilet) and words within words (as long it legally connects to each other) are allowed as separate words as long as the player has them written down.
- Scoring Points: All three main variants have the same point values. Three- and Four- letter words are worth 1 point each, Five-letter is 2 pts., Six-letter is 3 pts., Seven-letter is 5 pts., and Eight- letter words and longer are worth 11 pts. The game ends either by reaching 50 or 100 points (by "tournament" rules) or at whatever limit the group agrees.
- Timed Mission: Three minutes to find words. Big Boggle and Super Big Boggle has a four minute limit.
- Updated Re-release: Scrabble Boggle locks the dice inside the container so none of them will get lost. The hourglass is replaced by an electronic timer.