A Game With 12th Century Roots

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Project by luv2learn posted 12-19-2013 05:36 PM 1540 views 13 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a game with 12th century roots and has been called by various names, ”Shut The Box”, “Canoga”, ”Klackers”, ”Zoltan Box” and more. I was introduced to it by watching a youtube video produced by Steve Ramsey of “Woodworking for Mere Mortals” fame. His build had 9 flip tiles but he said the game can be made with 12 tiles so that is what I did.

My box is 13 1/4” square and 2” tall. The frame is birch and the bottom and top is 1/4” stained birch plywood. I finished it with several coats of spray on poly. I don’t know the species of wood of the tiles except it is a dark hard wood. I used decals for the numbers. I mounted the tiles on a 1/4” steel dowel and used 1/4” washers as spacers between them. I found some real thin foam at Micheal’s Craft Store to use as a playing surface for rolling the dice.

This is an “Old School” game for my three youngest grandchildren but my three adult grandchildren saw it and insisted we give it a test run first. You can find the rules for this game and its history at Wikipedia

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

19 comments so far

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5546 posts in 1383 days

#1 posted 12-19-2013 05:45 PM

Great looking box game—very nicely done (as always)! Also, thanks for the history and cite to Wikipedia—really helps to make your post more informative and enjoyable. Merry Christmas to you and your family, and enjoy this project with the grandchildren, old and young.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

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1222 posts in 1528 days

#2 posted 12-19-2013 06:22 PM

Really nice job! Great game for the younger kids to help with their adding and subtraction. I’m building one based on Steve’s plans also, but with the nine tiles. Looks like your tiles might be walnut.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View drbyte's profile


665 posts in 3153 days

#3 posted 12-19-2013 07:00 PM

Great “Shut-the-Box”. I have two or three of them and have wanted to build a nicer one for a long time. Now might be the time!! Merry Christmas!! Great signature too by the way!!

-- Dennis, WV

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4026 posts in 1134 days

#4 posted 12-19-2013 07:15 PM

Great game and a great build. 12th century? I didn’t think you were that old. Sounds like you had fun building it. Let the grandchildren win.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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321 posts in 1160 days

#5 posted 12-19-2013 07:45 PM

Beautiful job on the box and what a nice game. Thanks for posting and into my favorites it goes.

View jeffswildwood's profile


865 posts in 1068 days

#6 posted 12-19-2013 08:02 PM

Lee, good job on something I really wanted to try. I saw the same Steve Ramsey video and have wanted to build it since. It really looks fun and something I could give some of my old buddies who used to play “drinking games”. Really like the mitered corners, I need to try that too. Good job!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way thats says "I meant to do that".

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244 posts in 1338 days

#7 posted 12-20-2013 01:02 AM

Love it. I’ve got this on my list of games to make. Nice job.

View luv2learn's profile


2184 posts in 1394 days

#8 posted 12-20-2013 01:28 AM

To John, Tom, Dennis, Dave, Oakwood, Jeff, and Leroy thanks for the kind words. If I were to build this game again I would make it about a 1/2” taller to give more side support to the lid.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View hoss12992's profile


3331 posts in 984 days

#9 posted 12-20-2013 02:29 AM

This is really cool. I have never heard of the game, but thanks to you, I now have several of these on my bucket list. LOL Thanks for the links and for sharing your talent and craftsmanship.Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

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925 posts in 720 days

#10 posted 12-20-2013 03:41 AM

Beautiful piece, Lee! I especially like the way you hid the batteries. :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View luv2learn's profile


2184 posts in 1394 days

#11 posted 12-20-2013 03:53 AM

You are welcome hoss, I never heard of it before either but it is a fun game to make and to play.

LOL John!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Ken90712's profile


16042 posts in 2280 days

#12 posted 12-20-2013 09:49 AM

Nice, this has been on my to do list for some time… Great job…..

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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3109 posts in 915 days

#13 posted 12-20-2013 11:40 AM

Very nice Lee…the box and everything looks great, you did a very nice job in making it. I am on my way to go check out the rules and history of the game…thanks for sharing.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View hunter71's profile


2481 posts in 2277 days

#14 posted 12-20-2013 11:51 AM

Nice one. I have built several of these but not as nicely done as this is.
If you want to learn the game online, here it is.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View BanjoChris's profile


104 posts in 774 days

#15 posted 12-20-2013 12:16 PM

Very nice!

I am actually working on 3 at the moment…can’t wait to post pictures of the finished product.

Thanks for sharing!


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