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Trouble Game Rules: The Original Pop-O-Matic

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Sometimes it’s the simple board games we played as children that are still the most fun. Here’s an overview of trouble game rules for your old-school gaming pleasure.

Trouble is a simple enough game at first glance. This unique title was designed for two to four people to play at the same time.

The most exciting part about trouble is the specialized board introduced by Hasbro, which includes a “Pop-o-Matic” dice roller at the center of the game.

The popping center on the game board controls the way that the dice are rolled, to make sure that the game is completely random.

So, how exactly do you play this fast-paced game? The concept is easy enough to understand. If you’ve accidentally misplaced your copy of the Trouble rules, or you just want to learn more about the game before you buy it, read on.


Trouble Game Rules: Components and Setup

Trouble Game

The Trouble game from Hasbro comes with one plastic game board featuring the “POP-O-MATIC” die roller – which is the most interesting part of the game. Beyond this plastic component, you’ll also get 16 plastic playing pegs in four colors and usually some rubber gameboard feet to keep the board stable while you play.

The object of the game is to be the first to move all of your colored pegs across the board and into the “finish line”. During the game, you also attempt to send your opponents back home so that they have to start their Trouble journey from scratch.

To get started, each player in your group will need to choose a color and place the four pegs in that corresponding color into the “Home” section of the board. If only two people are playing, you can decide whether you want to play with two sets of pegs to ramp up the challenge.

To determine who gets to start the game, each player will roll the die by pressing on the POP-O-MATIC plastic dome once and letting go. The proprietary plastic bubble will roll the dice for you, and the person with the highest number will get to go first, with play continuing with the person to their left.

Playing the Game


When everyone has rolled the dice to determine who gets to play first, the game begins, with one pop of the POP-O-MATIC plastic bubble, and one move, if the dice allows it.

On your first turn, you need to roll a number six to move one of your pegs out of the “Home” section on the board and into the “Start” environment for the playing track. You’ll only have the option to pop the bubble in the center of the board once, so if you don’t get a six, you just have to wait until your next turn to start again.

Once you do roll a six, the fun begins, and you can move one of your pegs into the “Start” position.

Remember, you’ll also get an extra free turn for popping a six too, so you can roll again to move your peg further into the board. Trouble game players will need to move their pegs around the track in a clockwork fashion, counting every space, whether it’s free, or filled by another peg.

According to the Trouble rules, every time a player pops a 6 using the POP-O-MATIC dice system, they have a decision to make.

You can either move a peg that’s already on the track, or you can move a new peg out into the start position, to get more of your team to the finish line as fast as possible.

While having more pegs out on the track could speed up your success, it also increases your chances of another player landing on one of your pegs.

When a player lands on an opponents peg with their roles, that peg has to go back to the Home segment of the board again. That means that once again, the player has to pop a six to bring the peg out again.

The aim is to send as many people’s pegs back to the Home position as possible while you work on getting all of your pegs into the finish line.

If another player’s peg ends up in your “Start” space when you roll a six and want to move a peg out of your Home section, that counts as landing on another player’s peg. This means that the peg in your Start section will be sent back to the other player’s home, and they’ll have to roll a six to get it out again.

If one of your own pegs is in the Start space when you pop a six, you won’t be able to bring a new peg out until you move that other peg.

Winning the Game

According to the Trouble rules, if you want to win the game, then you need to be the first person in your group to move all of your pegs into the Finish line. You’ll have to roll the exact number of spaces required to move your pieces into the empty “Finish” spot.

If you roll a higher number, then you can’t move your piece, and your turn is over. Pegs in the Finish section of the gameboard are also safe from other players’ pegs, because other players can’t move into their opponents’ finish line.

You’ll need all four of the pegs in your chosen color to be lined up in the Finish section to win the game. After that, the other players can continue playing to find out who comes second or third.

Time to Play Some Trouble

Trouble is a fun and fast-paced game that’s as frustrating as it is exciting. The unique dice-rolling mechanics make the game an engaging one for younger children to play – although it can get noisy with young kids.

Additionally, the popular title is now available in a range of different themes, from Star Wars edition, to Disney editions.

If you like the idea of a dynamic game where your chances of winning rely heavily on luck, and you don’t mind upsetting your friends by sending them back to the beginning of the game every now and again – this is sure to be a title that appeals to you.

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