Saturday, December 26, 2015

Shut the Box or Batten Down The Hatches

In my house we love to play family game night. Family game night has a broad meaning in my world since it applies to friends as well. We are always on the hunt for fun games that are easy to learn and easy to store. Shut the Box also called Batten Down the Hatches, is the perfect game for family game night. 

Commonly played on ships back in the day and a pub game even today, Shut the Box is a fast playing game. At the start of the game all the "Hatches" are in the open position exposing numbers 1 through 9. 

Each player takes a turn by rolling two dice. After rolling the player will add up the pips on the dice and chooses which hatches to close. Any combination adding up to the total number of pips (dots on the dice) may be closed. For example if you roll a 5 and a 3 you have a total of 8. You have the following options to choose from: 

  • 8
  • 7 and 1
  • 6 and 2
  • 5 and 3
  • 5, 2 and 1
  • 4, 3, and 1

Any of the combinations may be chosen as long as they haven't already been shut in a previous roll. Player than rolls again, shutting more numbers. Eventually the player will roll a number that can no longer be worked with and you will then add the exposed numbers for the player's score. Play then goes to the next person. 

If the player is lucky enough to only have the number 1 position open, then the player need only roll one die. 

After each player has played their turn, the player who had the lowest score wins. 
If you manage to shut all the hatches, then you have "Shut the Box" or "Battened all the Hatches" and you automatically win. 

This game is fast paced and can be played alone as well as a type of solitaire. I have an antique set of Batten the Hatches that was once used by sailors in the 1800's, but this game is easy to find in modern renditions. 

My favorite is the one by Melissa & Doug because it comes self contained for easy storage. 
Melissa & Doug Shut the Box 

I also found this version from Front Porch Games which can be slipped into a bookshelf with all your other books. 

Front Porch Games Shut the Box

Another self-contained version is made by Circa.  

Circa Shut the Box 

Family game night is even more fun in a Tiny House. Good quality games that are fast paced and quick to learn are the best.

Do you have a game you enjoy for family game night? Share with us below!