Sorry! is a board game based on Pachisi and similar to Parqués and Parcheesi.


The earliest variation of today's Sorry! can be traced back to England, shortly before its arrival in the United States. Sorry! was adopted by Parker Brothers in 1934, and has remained in their possession since. It is an American hallmark board game, being played by generations of Americans, as well as throughout the world.


Each player has his or her own "'start" location and "home" location. The objective is to be the first player to get all four pawns from the start square to the home square. The pawns are normally moved in a clockwise direction, but can be moved backward, if directed. Moving a pawn backward can occasionally be to one's advantage.

Sorry! is played by drawing cards instead of rolling dice. The objective is to be the first person to the home.


Each player chooses four pawns of one color and one player is selected to play first.

Each player in turn draws one card from the stack and follows its instructions, but pawns cannot leave the start area unless one draws a card numbered 1 or 2. (Sorry! cards can also move pawns out of start and are explained below in more detail.) Otherwise, players can choose any pawn they wish to move so long as they complete the exact move as instructed. Players who cannot do so forfeit their turn.

When moving out of start with a card numbered 2 you can only move one space (this is ambiguous on the 2007 Hasbro link instructions and the card instructions, but is explicit in the 1972 sorry game instructions).

Two pawns cannot occupy the same square. A pawn that lands on a square occupied by another sends that pawn back to its start location. In most cases, players cannot bump their own pawns back to start. If the only way to complete a move would result in a player bumping themselves, these players just lose their turn.

If a pawn lands at the start of a slide (except those of its own color), it immediately moves to the last square of the slide. All pawns anywhere on the slide (including those of the same color, and including pawns on the "end spots" of the slide) are sent back to start.

The last five squares before home are the "safety zone" access is limited to only those pawns of the same color. Pawns inside the zone are safe from being knocked off by an opponent or sent back to start through the instruction of other certain cards. However, forced backward moves can cause a pawn to exit the zone, and a pawn can only enter home upon exact count: an 8 is unplayable when there are only 3 spaces remaining, for example.

Cards and functionEdit

There are five cards marked with the number 1, and four cards marked with each number from 2 to 12, except that there are no sixes or nines. There are also four "Sorry!" cards. Cards are annotated with the following actions:

1 Move a pawn from start OR move a pawn 1 space forward
2 Move a pawn from start OR move a pawn 2 spaces forward, AND draw again regardless of whether the player can move or not
3 Move a pawn 3 spaces forward
4 Move a pawn 4 spaces backwards
5 Move a pawn 5 spaces forward
7 Move one pawn 7 spaces forward or split the 7 spaces between two pawns (for example, five spaces for one pawn and two for another)
8 Move a pawn 8 spaces forward
10 Move a pawn 10 spaces forward or 1 space backward
11 Move 11 spaces forward or switch places with one opposing pawn; if the player cannot move 11 spaces they are not forced to switch and instead can forfeit their turn
12 Move a pawn 12 spaces forward
Sorry! card Move any one pawn from "start" to a square occupied by any opponent, sending that pawn back to its own "start". Nothing happens if there are no opposing pawns on the board. If you have no pawns in your start, your turn is forfeited.


Players who have a pawn that has not moved too far away from its start area, and draw a card that allows them to move a pawn backward, can (and should) elect to move this pawn backward. Move a pawn in such a situation backward enough, and the pawn is suddenly almost home.

Remember that the seven can be split; it is often possible to do so such that one of the pieces winds up on a slide, thus increasing the value of this card.

All other things being equal, moves that cause a pawn to wind up in front of an opponent's start square are poor choices, due to the high number of cards that allow that opponent to enter.

Due to the 11 (switching places), 4 (moving backwards, as noted above), and "Sorry" (allowing the player to send virtually any pawn back to its start) cards, the lead in the game can change dramatically in a short amount of time; players are very rarely so far behind as to be completely out of the game. Bear this in mind when deciding whom to victimize with a "Sorry" or an 11 of your own.


Red's teammate is always yellow and blue's teammate is always green. On any draw, a player may use their card on any of their own or their partner's pieces, so long as that move is legal. A 7 card may be split up among any two of the partnership's pieces, including one of their pieces and one of their partner's pieces. If they draw a 1 or 2 card, they may move either their own or their partner's pieces out of home, and draw again if it were a 2. "Sorry!" cards must be used if possible, although forcing the most advantageous move is not allowed. If only friendly pieces are on the board, they must bump their partner. If their partner is on a slide, and the player performs a slide, the pieces are bumped back to start. Landing on one's partner's square will also send the occupying piece back to home.

Once one of the partners has played all of their pieces into home, they continue to draw and play cards on their turn, if possible, for their partner. The first partnership to play all eight pieces in its home wins.


A variation with more scope for strategy is for each player to play the card of their choice from a hand, replenishing the played card from the stock.

This variation is played by shuffling a full deck of Sorry! cards, and selecting a dealer. Five cards are dealt face-down to each player. Starting player selection is decided by normal play rules. For each turn, players pick one card from their hand and play it face up. Normal rules apply for Movements/Switches/Redraws/etc. If a 2 is played, they may play another card. Being unable to play a card after playing a 2 card does not warrant the reshuffle rule, however, if able to play another, they must. At the end of the turn, that player picks up however many cards were played face-down. End rules apply. This variation is commonly coupled with point-play, noting that it is usually produces faster and more aggressive play.

Similar to regular game rules, a player must play a card if able. If a player is unable to play a card (called a dead hand), that player must discard one card and draw another face-down. If the player is able to play a card, the player must do so. If the player is able to play multiple cards, the player may choose freely which one to play.

Hoyle Table Games, a computer game consisting of 18 board/table games offers a game similar to Sorry! entitled Bump 'Em. Instead of using pawns, the players use bumper cars. There are four teams: red, blue, yellow and green. The board does not move in a regular square, but rather follows a path akin to a freeway Cloverleaf interchange|cloverleaf. There are no partnerships allowed.

The following cards have the following abilities. There is no specific amount of each card, due to the fact it is a chance by computer.
1: Move one bumper car out of "pit row" (start) or advance one space
2: Advance two spaces
3: Advance three spaces and take another card
4: Advance four spaces
5: Advance five spaces
6: Advance six spaces or move nine spaces backwards
7: Advance seven spaces or switch places with an opponent
8: Advance eight spaces or split the move between two bumper cars
9: Advance nine spaces or move six spaces backwards
10: Advance ten spaces
11: Advance eleven spaces or move one space backwards
12: Advance twelve spaces or move one bumper car out of pit row
Bump 'Em: Similar to the Sorry! card in the traditional game. Take one bumper car currently in pit row. Choose an opponent's car. Take their place and send them back to pit row. If you have no cars in pit row, you must pass. You cannot save this card for later, as you would in a traditional Sorry! game.

The board also comes with oil slicks, which act as the Slides! and landing on a persons bumper car will "bump" them back to pit row.

Point PlayEdit

Variation rules apply (Five cards in hand style play, see "Variation"). The winner is decided by achieving a certain amount of points over a span of several games.

Point system goes as follows:

Points Scenario
5 To any player with X number of their own pieces in home (X being the number of pieces in home at game's end)
5 To winner for each opponent's piece not in home
25 To winner if no opponent has more than two pieces in home
50 To winner if no opponent has more than one piece in home
100 To winner if no opponent's pieces have reached home

The winner is decided when one player achieves a set number of points agreed upon by all players before play starts. Variations for faster play include point penalties for certain cards in each player's hand at the end of each set.

Diamond spaceEdit

Image:Sorry diamond edit.jpg|thumb|right|180px|Older board containing diamond spaces Older versions of Sorry! contain a "diamond space" directly one space back from the start square. This allowed the opportunity for a "10" card to be used in its variation of "one space backwards", thus allowing a freshly entered piece to move backwards one space and onto the diamond. However, once on the diamond, that piece was not allowed to move forward except by force of an opponent's Sorry! or "11" card. That piece would have to remain on the diamond square until the drawing of a 4, 10 (which would be a forced "one space backwards"), or 11 (which would be a forced "switch"). It was always subjected to an opponent's Sorry! or "11 - Switch", and likewise was sent back to start if an opponent landed on the diamond square. Thus, players could pass over other opponents' diamond squares, but never their own.

According to the included rules in several newer editions, the directions state that a player may enter their safety zone by drawing a 4 or 10 card, and moving a fresh piece backwards accordingly. However, a 10 card, moving one space backward, will not allow entry to the safety zone, and is still subject to a forced move. One would need to draw two 10 cards to move a piece into the front of the safety zone.

The original English rules stated that a pawn could not pass over the diamond square (of its own colour). This would seem pretty obvious since otherwise it would be going round again rather than going to "HOME," but it could conceivably be desirable if you could land on someone else's pawn who had nearly won. This did not prevent reaching the diamond square by means of a 10 card, backwards from the "START" square, but later being forced to move forward because no other move was available. As the pawn had not passed onto the square in the forward direction, it had not passed over the square; rather it had reversed onto it.

See also Edit

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