Boggle Review

Word games form a strong branch of board game culture in general, and
it’s difficult for many to overcome the undisputed king of the
word-forming world: Scrabble. If any game is likely to challenge the
crown with any hope of success, it’s probably the other popular word
game on the market – Boggle.

Boggle is similar to Scrabble in that you need to form words from a
randomized source to win the game. That said, Boggle is slightly more
hectic, hence the name. Play begins by shaking a tray of 16 cubes into a
random grid configuration. Each cube bears six letters, one on each
side, and the side that lands face-up in the tray is thereafter used for
play. For the next three minutes players form as many
three-letter-or-more words as they can out of the tray of letters,
making connections horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The only
hard-and-fast rule here is that the same letter can’t be used twice in
the same word.

Once time runs out, the players go down their list of words and compare
them. Players who get the same words must cross them off their lists.
Words that stand this test are counted for points, with contested words
being checked via dictionary. The player with the most points at the end
of the scoring round wins – or play can continue for several more
rounds, if you want a lengthier session.

Overall? Fun. Frustrating, sometimes aggravating if the letters fall
into a poor configuration, but fun. Boggle forces its players to think
outside the box and look beyond simple three-or-four-letter words to
really score points, as you run the constant risk of getting the same
words as the other players. Boggle may not be the best game to play
between adults and children if winning is a sore point, but it’s a great
learning tool – and there are many editions available that cater more
to kids than parents.

The standard Boggle edition is terribly pretty. You get a box, the tray,
the cubes, the timer. Other versions don’t change this formula much, as
Boggle doesn’t require fancy designs to get its job done. If you want
strong presentation, look elsewhere – though those other games won’t be
nearly as easy to take on family road trips or long vacations. Boggle
doesn’t come with a standard dictionary for resolving disputes, though
an official Scrabble dictionary can easily double for that purpose, as
they cover the range of words likely to pop up in Boggle.

Boggle is a classic. It’s easy to transport, easy to learn, easy to play
and great for expanding your vocabulary. It can also be daunting, as
beginners stand almost no chance against seasoned pros. Despite the
element of randomness skill plays a huge part in exploiting letter
combinations. As such it’s best to play Boggle with people of a similar
skill level, as you’ll either get trampled or trample your opponent,
which is probably fun for neither of you. Perhaps not the best formula
for a family board game, but excellent for gaming leagues and
competitive play. This online version is a good place to start in on
Boggle if you don’t know what you’re doing just yet.