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Aggravation Board Game: Rules, Instruction & Gameplay!

Aggravation might seem like a simple game at first glance. Players simply need to move their marbles around the board. But things aren’t that easy! During the game, players will get the opportunity to aggravate each other.

What makes this game quite strategic is that players don’t need to, but at the same time, players will want to win, won’t they? In big games of Aggravation, it’s not uncommon for players to form alliances with each other, but in the end, there can only be one winner.

What is the Aggravation Board Game?

Aggravation was created in the early 1960s and is a Pachisi-style game. Retro game boards are usually made of wood, and you can often find them included in in-game compendiums alongside popular games like Chess and Checkers.

Older style Aggravation boards can only accommodate four players, but more modern versions allow up to six players! So while Aggravation might not be as popular as games like Scrabble or Monopoly, it’s got a dedicated fanbase and even official tournaments.

Each player will have four marbles and have to get them from their base to the home area of the board. Players move by rolling dice, but you will eventually run into your opponent’s marbles during the game.

This is when Aggravation gets interesting because you will have the opportunity to aggravate other players. This means you send their marble all the way back to the base section of the board!

Aggravating your opponents isn’t going to make you popular, but if you want to win the game, it would be foolish to pass on the opportunity, wouldn’t it? Well, that’s up to you; Aggravation might not be a strategy board game by design, but it’s certainly got strong strategic elements.

The winner is the first player to get all four of their marbles into the home section of the board. But like we’ve outlined above, this isn’t going to be as easy as you might first think. This is just the beginning of how Aggravation is played; we’ll be sharing everything you need to know in the rules section below.

What You’ll Need to Play?

To play Aggravation, you’ll need a game board. Finding a copy of Aggravation might be difficult for some people, so we suggest looking online. You can find many wooden Aggravation game boards if you want something retro.

However, some of these game boards can be quite expensive, so if you want something a little cheaper, you can find more modern Aggravation board games. The good news is that most boards these days can accommodate six players, no matter what their design is!

Once you’ve got your board, you’re ready to play! But before setting up a game, make sure you check out our rule guide below. While Aggravation isn’t Shogi-level complicated, there is still a bit to learn before playing.

Rules And Gameplay

Rules and Gameplay

Here are the simple rules, setup, and aim of the game you need to know to play.

The Aim of The Game

Aggravation is essentially a race around the board like Ludo, with each player having four marbles they need to get from their base to the home at the center! Players move by rolling a die, but that on its own probably sounds quite boring, doesn’t it?

But there is more to Aggravation than just traversing the board! The fun of this game comes with the “aggravation” mechanic. We’ll talk more about how that works below. To win, you simply need to be the first player to get all their marbles home. Sounds simple but let’s look at how everything works.

The Set-Up

Aggravation makes a fun two-player board game, but in our opinion, it works best with more players. Most modern game boards can accommodate six players (however, older boards may only accommodate four), so the more, the merrier with this game.

The first thing to do is decide which color marbles you’ll want. The colors included can vary, and there are no advantages to any color. So, simply decide which color you want between yourselves.

Place your four marbles in the corresponding colored base section, and then get ready to play! To decide who goes first, every player should roll the die; the player with the highest roll will go first. Play continues in a clockwise movement from then on.

Playing Aggravation

On your turn, roll the die and move your marbles in a clockwise direction around the game board. After your first turn, you can also start moving other marbles around the board. You can also split your die roll between marbles as well.

For example, let’s say you have two marbles out of the base zone and roll a six. You can then move each marble to three places. The aim of the game is to be the first player to get all four of your marbles to the home zone at the center of the board.

However, you’ll likely run into other players’ marbles; what should you do? Well, if you rolled enough, you can jump over it; however, if your roll exactly or just feel like being a little devious, you can instead aggravate your opponent.


So, if you land on an opponent’s marble, you can decide whether to aggravate it or not. If you don’t want to, then you simply stop in the space before it or jump over it if possible. But if you want to aggravate your opponent, you simply take the space of the marble on the board.

Your opponent’s marble is then sent all the way back to its base zone! It might be tempting to play nice and try to form a partnership with another player, but there can only be one winner, so we say aggravate whenever you can!

Taking Shortcuts

There is one other important element to playing Aggravation that we need to talk about, and that is shortcuts! Many modern Aggravation boards have a shortcut path that is adorned with stars around the center of the board.

But how do you use this path? To take the shortcut, you need to land on one of the star squares with an exact roll. You can split your roll between two (or more) marbles either to try and cheat this! It needs to be an exact roll with just one marble.

If you manage to get on the shortcut path, you can travel around the stars more quickly to the home section! However, be warned that the aggravation rolls still apply even in the shortcut path, so keep that in mind.

Winning Aggravation

To win Aggravation, you must be the first to get all four of your colored marbles to the home base. So if you’re playing with six people, expect to see some players ask for an alliance and maybe consider it. But don’t be afraid to betray people because there can only be one winner!

Aggravation – A Surprisingly Strategic Board Game

Aggravation is easy to play, but there is a lot of variety in how you can actually play it. Do you forge alliances with others and promise not to aggravate them or focus on moving one marble at a time? There are plenty of ways to play Aggravation, which is all part of the fun.

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