Play begins by randomizing a 4×4 tray of dice-like "letter cubes", normally by shaking. Each of the 16 cubes has a different letter printed on each of its sides. The cubes settle into a 4×4 tray such that only the top letter of each cube is visible. After the cubes have settled into the grid, a 3-minute timer is started and all players simultaneously begin the main phase of play.
Each player searches for words that can be constructed from the letters of sequentially adjacent cubes. Adjacent is considered to include the horizontally, vertically, and diagonally neighboring cubes. Words must be at least 3 letters long, may include singular and plural separately, but may not utilize the same letter cube more than once per word. The players record all words found by writing on their private sheet of paper. After 3 minutes have elapsed, all players must stop writing and the game enters the scoring phase.
Each player goes through his or her list of discovered words. If two or more players wrote the same word, it is discarded from all players' lists. Any player may challenge the validity of a word, in which case a previously nominated dictionary is used to verify or refute the word. For all words remaining after duplicates have been eliminated, points are awarded based on the length of the word. Longer words receive significantly more points up to a maximum of 11 points for 8 letters or more. The winner is the player whose point total is highest. Any ties are typically broken by count of long words.
The game was taken to a new level with the introduction of "Big Boggle," later marketed as "Boggle Master," which features a 5×5 tray, and is customarily played by searching for words of 4 letters or more. The Boggle Master set has an adapter that can convert the larger grid into a regular Boggle grid.