Released in 1972 by Parker Brothers, Boggle challenged players to unleash their inner wordsmiths in a race against time to score the most points.
Inventor Allan Turoff originally pitched the word-finding game to Parker Brothers in 1970 under the name Word Hunt. The company rejected the concept and it languished until 1972, when Parker Brothers renamed it Boggle and marketed it alongside two other games.
Despite lacklustre sales across the board, Boogle gained a small but dedicated following, leading to the company re-releasing it in new packaging in 1976. An ad blitz in 1977 saw the sales fortunes of the game take off, leading it to become a family game night staple.
Part of Boggle’s ongoing popularity is largely based on how accessible the game is to learn and play.
A game begins by shaking the Boggle Grid, a covered 4×4 tray of cubic dice with different letters of the alphabet printed on each side. Once the dice have settled into the tray, a single letter on one of the faces of each die is visible (except for the letter Q, which is paired with U) to all players.
At the start of a three-minute timer, players race to jot down words made from adjacent letters on paper. Words are formed by tracing them backward, forward, diagonally, and around corners. Acceptable words must be a minimum of three letters and found in the dictionary.
When the timer runs out, players compare their list of words. Duplicate words are thrown out and points are awarded based on word length on a per-player basis for any remaining unique words.
The player with the most points is declared the winner.
IN THE BOX
A complete Boggle game included the Boogle Grid (with cover), 16 letter cubes, and a plastic sand timer. Printed instructions were included in the box.
Parker Brothers cashed in on Boggle’s popularity by releasing several variants, including Big Boggle (larger 5×5 grid of letter cubes) and Pocket Boggle (compact for travel)
The re-released version of Boggle from 1976 is relatively easy to find on the secondary market. Locating an original version from 1972 is more challenging.