Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Shut-the-Box Game

I was surprised this holiday season with the game 'Shut-the-Box'. This game of dice was first exposed to me during my undergraduate studies at Tri-State University. During my first couple of years at TSU, I became a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity, and we spent many nights rolling away the dice in our own set of 'Shut-the-box'.

As nostalgic as I am, this game represents a further history. According to Wikipedia, there exist references from at least the 19th century to the Normandy (northern France) or the Channel Islands (English Channel, United Kingdom), others also mention fur trappers from the Hudson's Bay Company. The game has been popular among sailors and fishermen.

Further, evidence exists in England from the middle of the 20th century and it is quite sure that it did not originate there. Timothy Finn writes in Pub Games of England that it came from the Channel Islands in 1958 by a Mr. 'Chalky' Towbridge. It is said that versions have also been played in Barotseland (Zambia, central Africa). The game is also popular in the beer bars of Thailand.

Most recently, Shut-the-Box has been the basis for TV game shows such as High Rollers. Personally, I like it becuase its simple and classy. To often, games are over-run with rules that take days to understand.

Notes: My version of Shut-The-Box was made by Front Porch Classics.

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