Our step-by-step guide to the rules of how to play Sorry board game. This is a game about managing a team in a race while looking out for the evil players who attempt to hurt you. It just happens to be the simplest version of that. For kids and adults alike, the game is for 2 – 4 players at ages 6+. The rules for how to play Sorry are incredibly easy to understand in just a few steps.
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HOW TO PLAY SORRY – WHAT IS IT?
Back in 1929 when Sorry! the board game released to the world, this was about as much theme as you got. The idea of polite meanness was enough and enough it was. This game was popular when it was released and remains an absolute classic today. An entire generation thinks of this kids game as one of the most memorable and edgiest things from their past.
The object of Sorry is to be the first player to get all four of their pawns from their color start to their color home. Players just need to watch out for others bumping them off and sending them back to the starting point. The is the OG “take that” board game.
HOW TO PLAY SORRY – STEP BY STEP
Time Needed: Approximately 30 minutes.
This is a step by step guide for how to play Sorry the popular racing and take that board game. Additional notes and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.
1. SETUP | Take Color Pawns
To kick off how to play Sorry setup, everyone needs to grab their color pieces. Each player gets four pawns of their chosen color (blue, red, yellow, green).
2. SETUP | Place Pawns on Start
Each player puts their four pawns on the corresponding “start” space of that color. Pawns are identical so no need to worry about their order or placement. You are going to slowly moves these out, across the track and towards the home space on your turn.
3. SETUP | Shuffle Deck
The deck of number cards, which will dictate movement amounts throughout the game, needs to be organized. Shuffle up the cards and place the deck face down in the “place pack here” center of the board.
4. SETUP | Pick Starting Player
The final step of how to play Sorry setup before getting into game play is to pick who is going to start. Draw a card with highest number going first or use your randomization method of choice.
5. GAMEPLAY | Draw
Take the top card on the Draw pile and move accordingly if you can. Place the card face up on the “Discard Here” area.
6. GAMEPLAY | Starting A Pawn
To move a Pawn from your START area out on the track, you must draw either a “1” or a “2”. If it is a 2, do as it says, then draw again and move if possible. You may not start a pawn out with any other numbers.
7. GAMEPLAY | Jump and Bumping
You may jump over your own or another player’s pawn that’s in your way, counting it as a space. But… if you land on a space that’s already occupied by an opponent’s pawn, Bump that pawn back to its own color START space.
8. GAMEPLAY | Slide
The four colored bars with triangle starts and circle ends are the slide areas. If you land on the triangle starting point of any of these that is not your color, with one of your pawns, you get to “slide” to the end. Move to the circle of that slide and Bump any pieces in the way, including your own, back to their START.
8. GAMEPLAY | Sorry Card
If you draw the “Sorry” card, you get to really stick it to your opponent. Take one pawn from your START and place it on any space that is occupied by any opponent and bump that opponent’s pawn back to its START. If there is no pawn on your START or no opponent’s pawn on any space you can move to, you forfeit your move.
9. GAMEPLAY | Moving Backwards
4 and 10 cards move you backward. If you have successfully moved a pawn backward at least two spaces beyond your own START space, you may, on a subsequent turn, move into your own SAFETY ZONE without moving all the way around the board.
10. GAMEPLAY | Safety Zone
When you enter into a slide area of your color you do not slide because you are almost home at your safety zone. Instead of sliding, you instead move up these colored spaces just like you would any other spaces on the track. Once in your color, you are safe from the bumping of other colored pawns.
11. GAMEPLAY | Making It Home
You need to get all four of your pawns in the HOME space. You need exact number amounts to get there. You couldn’t use a “3” when you only had 2 spaces to go.
12. WINNING | First Player All Home
The first player to get all four of their pawns into their color HOME space is the winner. As you can see, the rules for how to play Sorry are incredibly simple and quick to pick up.
HOW TO PLAY SORRY – KEY INFORMATION
1 | Either Start a pawn out OR move one pawn forward 1 space.
2 | Either Start a pawn out OR move one pawn forward 2 spaces. Draw Again.
3 | Move one pawn forward 3 spaces.
4 | Move one pawn backward 4 spaces.
5 | Move one pawn forward 5 spaces.
7 | Move one to two pawns forward a total of 7 spaces.
8 | Move one pawn forward 8 spaces.
10 | Move one pawn forward 10 spaces OR move one pawn backward 1 space.
11 | Move one pawn forward 10 spaces OR swap one of your pawns with any one other pawn.
12 | Move one pawn forward 12 spaces.
SORRY | Take one pawn from your START and place it on any space that is occupied by any opponent and bump that opponent’s pawn back to its START.
VARIATION — TEAM RULES
RED is always YELLOW’s partner and GREEN is always with BLUE’s.
All regular rules apply and any partner may move — or bump! — his or her own partner’s piece in accordance with the card drawn.
If you land on a space occupied by a partner’s pawn, bump it back to its START!
SORRY cards must be used. If there’s no one else to pick on, this means you might send your own partner’s pieces back!
7 means you may split a move among any of your team’s eight pawns.
If you drew a 1 or a 2m you may enter a pawn of either partner. If it was a 2, when you draw again, you may use that card for any of your team’s eight pieces.
WINNING: The first partnership to get all eight pawns into their respective HOMEs wins the game.
VARIATION FOR ADULTS — PLAY FOR POINTS
Put only three of your pawns on the START space. Put the forth pawn on the circle outside of your START.
Shuffle the deck and deal five cards face down to each player. Place the rest of the pack face down on “Place Pack Here”.
On your turn, select one card from your hand and move according to its instructions. Discard it and draw a new card to bring your hand and move according to its instructions. Discard it and draw a new card to bring your hand back up to five cards.
If none of the cards in your hand allows you to move, discard any one card and draw a new one. Your turn ends; do not move a pawn until your next turn.
The first player to get all four pawns HOME wins.
All players score 5 points for each piece on HOME:
- 5 points for each opponent’s piece not in its HOME.
- 25 points if no opponent has more than two pawns HOME.
- 50 points if no opponent has more than one pawn HOME.
- 100 points if no opponents’ pawns reached HOME.
- Sorry Game Board
- Deck of number cards (no 6’s or 9’s)
- 16x Pawns (4 each of 4 colors)
HOW TO PLAY SORRY – IN CLOSING
We hope you can now say you know how to play Sorry. This classic racing and take that board game with really simple and straightforward gameplay was well ahead of its time and still holds up as a beloved kids’ game today. There are enough decisions to make, with plenty of stakes, to keep this one interesting. And even with that, it is so simple. This is what makes it a kids’ game, because it is simple, but there is enough here that players of all ages can enjoy it. Learning how to play Sorry, is certainly worthwhile.