Participating in the Super Bowl "squares" or "boxes" game has become a mainstay for offices, parties, and bars in late Janauary and early February, as casual and ardent viewers of football's biggest game partake in some friendly wagering.

Playing the boxes game adds another layer of excitement to the Super Bowl, especially if your favorite team failed to make the NFL’s championship game and you’d like to have a little gambling action without visiting a casino or signing up with an online book maker. The way the game’s usually set up keeps players on their seat throughout the title matchup.

It's an easy game to play and follow. The basic rules and the grid, which we explain in detail below, involves picking the score of each quarter and the final score. For example, if you have box 7 for the Broncos and box 6 for the Panthers and the first quarter ends 7-6 Broncos, you win that quarter.

Going further, if its 14-10 Broncos at the end of the second quarter and you have Denver’s box 4 and Carolina’s box 0, you would also take down that pot of money. The game continues in the third quarter and then the end of the fourth.

That’s a very simply explanation, but for those interested in some of the finer nuances of the Super Bowl squares or boxes game, here’s a quick breakdown of how to set up your own game and the rules most games follow.

Designing The Boxes

Based on our pool for Super Bowl 50, designing the box is really quite simple. Start by downloading and printing ours, or construct your own with a regular piece of blank paper or make a huge one on a big piece of poster board.

To make it yourself, first draw a massive rectangle with enough space to break that rectangle up into 100 smaller squares. Assign a team to the top, or x-axis, and the other to the side, or y-axis. It doesn’t matter which team is where.

Assigning Teams And Numbers

After you’ve created your full board and broken up the squares, it’s time to assign numbers. The numbers run from 0 all the way to 9. They are assigned randomly to both the team on top and the one on the side. Usually pool officiants will draw the numbers out of a hat to make it random and more exciting.

Once you’ve designated the numbers for each box, it’s time to sell off each of those boxes to the players.

But most ways to play is to have everyone bet on boxes first, and then assign numbers on the x or y axis by pulling them out of a hat. The first number to be picked goes in the upper left corner and the second number goes either along the x and y axis until all the boxes are filled. This allows for all participants to have an even chance of winning.

Picking Winning Numbers

The whole point is to have a box on numbers that will reflect the score at the end of each quarter and at the very end. Since touchdowns can be scored as either 6, 7, or 8 points, field goals are always 3 points, and safeties are always 2 points, you want to land the numbers that properly add up to a typical football score. The most popular choices are 0s, 1s, 3s, 4s, 6s, and 7s. 

How Many Players Can Participate?

As long as there is a box to bet on, anyone can play. Players can also bet on multiple boxes.

Does The Winner Take The Whole Pot?

Yes. There is no second place. You can keep playing for each quarter of the Super Bowl so there are four big chances to play and win. 

How Much Should Be Bet Per Box?

It depends on how much your group likes to gamble. Most bars charge $5 a box, but office pools can up the wager to $10 or $20 or a lot more.