How to Play the Popular Aggravation Game

Sitting around with the family on game night can be a real treat in any home. No game is better for fun and family bonding than the ever-popular Aggravation game. Named for the ‘aggravated’ state marbles can get into, this game promises loads of laughs, despite the name. It’s also known by many as Wahoo because of the fun your family can have playing it. Aggravation is a great game for all ages, and a handcrafted and hand-painted Aggravation game board is the perfect game to add to your family’s collection. Here’s how to play and get the most out of your game night.


The Aggravation board comes double-sided, depending on your family’s needs. One side supports two to four players, while the other supports up to six for larger families or friend groups. To start, each player chooses a color of marble they’d like to play with. (If there’s ever a dispute over who wants to play which color, you can always have a match of rock-paper-scissors to decide.) 

Each colored marble set comes with four marbles. On the board, there are blocks of four colored spaces for the marbles to fit in. These are a player’s base slots, and all marbles must start from there. Everyone rolls a die to see who goes first. The highest number wins.

The Goal

The goal of Aggravation is to have fun! But in terms of winning, a player’s job is to use dice rolls to move their marbles clockwise around the board until they reach their home spaces. You’ll notice there are five other colored spaces on the board for each player. The four that are aligned in a row to the right of each base block are where you need to get your marbles. In order to get to these spaces, players will need to move their marbles all the way around the board in a clockwise motion.


To begin moving your marbles on the board, you need to activate them. The last colored spot on the board is a player’s start location. To activate a marble, a player needs to roll a one or a six on their turn. Once a marble is activated, it can begin moving along the board in a clockwise motion until it reaches home. You can’t activate another marble if there’s already one in your home space. You’ll need to move that marble out of the way first.

The movement of marbles is determined by the roll of a die. Rolling a one or a six will allow you to activate a marble and move it into your home space. As an additional rule-of-luck, whenever you roll a six, you get to take a second turn! When you roll a die, you pick a marble to move the exact number of spaces shown on the die. There are a few ways you won’t be able to move a marble. Your marbles can’t jump or move past marbles of your own color; you’ll always have to move marbles ahead first. A marble also cannot move past the end of your home spaces, so you’ll have to get lucky for your rolls to land where you need them. If you can’t move any of your marbles, you’ll have to pass your turn and wait for another chance. 

Becoming Aggravated

Although your marbles can’t jump your own pieces, they can jump over other players’ marbles or even land on them! If your marble lands on another player’s, their marble becomes ‘aggravated.’ Hence the name Aggravation! An aggravated marble must return to that player’s base area and wait to be activated again. This keeps the game, and your opponents, on their toes.

House Rules

Like any good family game, Aggravation is customizable to fit your family. You can make any number of house rules you want to change the game and provide additional fun. Have younger children? You can let them start with their pieces already active or move their base to a closer location. Looking for an additional challenge? Pick only one die number per player that will let them activate their base marbles. You can customize your board to add power spaces or fast lanes. You can even lessen the Aggravation by sending aggravated marbles to the start space instead of the base square. 

Choosing the Right Board

Part of the enjoyment of Aggravation is having the right game board to play it on. You could buy a plastic board with bright, dazzling colors and startling designs. But if you’re looking for a more classic, understated look, you’ll want a handcrafted wooden Aggravation board. A game board made out of strong, high-quality wood will hold up better over constant use. And with how much your family is going to love this game, you’ll need something with some extra durability! You can purchase blank boards, allowing you to decorate and customize them yourself, or professionally hand-painted boards that add an extra touch of quality. Whichever option you choose, you’ll feel secure in the knowledge that your family has the best for game night options. 

The Aggravation game is a fun and exciting game of strategy and chance that will leave your family smiling. You can order your handcrafted and hand-painted Aggravation game board through Amish Toybox. Our games are made by Amish craftsmen with the highest quality materials possible. Whether you play by the normal rules or make up your own house rules, your family is guaranteed to love a rousing game of Aggravation.

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