Sorry! Board Game Rules: Classic & Alternative Gameplay

girls playing a board game

Sorry is a classic, family board game variation of Parcheesi played around the world as early as the 1930's. After it's 1934 adaptation by American game giant Parker Brothers, the game became a favorite in the U.S. Generations of families have played the original version of Sorry along with other variations, which include new rules and popular children's characters. Play the traditional way or try out one of these exciting and unique variations.

How to Play Sorry

Traditional game play according to the included rules leaves winning up to luck in this game for two to four players ages six and up. It only takes about 30 minutes to play one whole game. The winner is the first player to get all four pawns from the "start" space to the "home" space.

  1. Each player selects a color from the four options. Color choice denotes which "start," "home" and pawns you'll use.
  2. Choose a player to go first. This person picks a card from the deck and follows the instructions. Players might move forward or backward a specific number of spaces, draw cards, or switch places with other players.
  3. Players take turns in a clockwise direction picking cards and moving their pawns. The goal is to get all your pawns to your "home" before anyone else.
  4. You can jump over another player's pawns to continue moving your designated number.
  5. If you land on a space occupied by another player, you say "Sorry!" and that pawn gets bumped back to its "start."
  6. Game play continues until one person gets all their pawns in their "home" space.

Alternative Rules

If you've played the classic way and want to make Sorry new and exciting for the whole family, try out one of these alternate versions using the same board, pawns and cards.

Reverse Play

Follow all the standard rules except start with your pawns lined up in the "safe zone." You'll have to move out one pawn at a time because in this version you can't jump your own pawns. Travel around the board in a counterclockwise direction. The goal is to get all your pawns from the "safe zone" to the "start" spot. When you land on a triangle spot of another color, you slide backward to the circle. Pawns can move backward all the way to the "home" spot.

Tournament Play

There are alternative rules included in the classic game instructions for tournament play. This version requires more planning and strategy than the basic rules.

  • Each player starts and ends each turn with five cards in their hand by drawing and discarding.
  • Players plan attacks and defenses and then use their turn to choose how to use one or more of their cards to achieve their goal.
  • Tournament play also works great for teams where two colors team up against the other two colors. In a team scenario each player can move pawns from either of their team's two colors.

Point Play

In the points version of the game, the winner is the first player to accumulate a certain amount of points, such as 500, over two or three rounds. Each round ends when one player gets all their pawns "home." Points are awarded as follows at the end of each round:

  • 5 points - To any player with two of their pawns in the "home" space
  • 5 points - To winner for each opponent's pawn that is not in the "home" space
  • 25 points - To winner if no opponent has more than two pawns in the "home" space
  • 50 points - To winner if no opponent has more than one pawn in the home space
  • 100 points - To winner if no opponent's pawns have reached the home space

Collection Game

The goal in this version is to collect one pawn from each color on the board in your "home" space. You must have at least one of your own color pawns in the home space following standard game play to win.

  • Any time you land on the same space as another player, you take their pawn and move it into your "home" space.
  • If you draw a "Sorry" card, you take that pawn to your "home" space rather than the opponent's "start" space.
  • If you draw an "11" card, you can take any of your pawns stolen by an opponent and place it back at your starting location.

Active Game

Get everyone out of their seats and moving around the table with this active version. This option takes longer than the classic because there are fewer opportunities to move your pawns. Follow all the same game play rules as the classic version, except don't follow the card directions. There are eleven basic cards in a Sorry deck; for this version you'll need to assign some cards a new meaning.

  • 1 = Switch seats with any other player.
  • 2 = Move ahead two spaces
  • 3 = Everyone moves one seat to the left.
  • 4 = Move backward four spaces.
  • 5 = Move ahead five spaces.
  • 7 = Everyone moves one seat to the right.
  • 8 = Move two pawns a total of eight spaces.
  • 10 = Move backward one space
  • 11 = Lose a turn.
  • 12 = Everyone at the table stands up and walks around the table in a circle counting to twelve. When you hit twelve, all players take the seat closest to the front of their body.
  • Sorry = Choose two players to switch seats with each other.

Sorry Slots

Use candy, snacks, or coins to play for keeps in this lucky gambling version. Each player starts with eight candies in their "home" space and two candies on each circle in the "slide zones." Place a pile of candies in the center of the game board as extras. Follow standard rules with these exceptions:

  1. candy buttons and hands
    When you land on a triangle of another color, you stay on the triangle and collect the candies from the circle at the end of it, like you just hit the jackpot on a slot machine. Every time someone takes the candies from a "slide zone" circle, replace them using extra candies from the center of the board.
  2. Each time you get a pawn "home," collect two candies from any other player's "home."
  3. If you get all four of your pawns home, you win any candies left in the other player's "home" spaces.
  4. Add up all the candies at the end of the game and the player with the most wins.

Color-Coded Truth or Dare

Players will really be sorry about the things they say and do in this fun, mature version. Follow standard game play and add in these elements. Designate red and yellow spaces as "truth" spaces, then green and blue spaces as "dare" spaces. Players must complete a truth or a dare for any space on the game board, not including the "safe zones," with the appropriate color on it. Truths can be any secret information. Dares must involve one move in game play like trading spots with one pawn or moving another player's pawn to home. If you complete a task, you get to move ahead the same number of spaces you just moved. If you don't complete the task you lose your next turn.

  • Red truth - Tell a truth about any other player.
  • Yellow truth - Tell a truth about yourself.
  • Green dare - The player who has a pawn closest to the one you just moved gives you a dare to complete involving game play against another player.
  • Blue dare - The player who has a pawn closest to the one you just moved gives you a dare to complete involving game play that hurts you.

Where to Buy the Sorry Board Game

Since Sorry is a classic board game with several modern versions; you can buy them at most book, game, and big box stores.

  • Kohl's carries the Hasbro Sorry Nostalgia Tin for under $30. This vintage version is made to look like the 1954 version of the game and comes in a decorative tin case. Fans of classic board games will love this traditional set.
  • In the 2013 edition of the game, there are only three pawns for each player and there are new fire and ice power tokens. Fire tokens help players move more quickly around the board, while ice tokens freeze pawns in place for a certain amount of time. For kids with lower attentions spans, this version features faster game play.
  • Sorry Spin features a modern, geometric game board with a new twist. When players draw a Spin card, they must twist the entire game board, which can be an advantage or disadvantage. This version is perfect for family game night or after school programs.

Don't Be Sorry

Classic board games like Sorry feature simple rules, lots of family fun, and are adaptable to modern versions. Whether you're playing with a group of kids, adults or both, you won't be sorry you grabbed this board game.

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
Sorry! Board Game Rules: Classic & Alternative Gameplay