Dec 222017
"Shut The Box" Game from MicroLink (by Bob Lancaster).
File MLSHUT12.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
Category Games and Entertainment
“Shut The Box” Game from MicroLink (by Bob Lancaster).
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MLSHUT.DOC 15049 5786 deflated
MLSHUT.EXE 43776 21464 deflated

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Contents of the MLSHUT.DOC file

MicroLink Personal Computer Users' Group


Shut The Box

v1.2, Copyright 1989, Bob Lancaster


From coins covering numbers scratched into the deck of a fishing
boat to the high-tech glitz of the TV game show High Rollers, Shut
The Box in its many guises has been around since the 18th century,
when it is thought to have been invented by fishermen in the
Channel Islands.

Its simplicity (very young children easily understand and enjoy
it), coupled with the fun of trying to "beat the odds" have made it
an old standard, especially in the British Isles, where it remains
a popular pub game to this day.


Shut The Box will run on any IBM PC/AT/XT/PS2 or close clone
thereof, with at least 64k of memory.

Although the game looks best when played on a color monitor, it
plays just fine on a monochrome. (If you are using a monochrome or
composite monitor with a color graphics card, please see "Black And
White Mode" in the Games Parameters section below)

A Microsoft-compatible mouse, can be used. (Remember to load your
mouse driver before loading Shut The Box).

If you run across a configuration on which the game will not run,
please let me know (address at end of this file)!


Microsoft Mouse Support
Fast Mode
Monochrome/Composite monitor support
Demonstration Mode
Top Ten Scores file
Statistics on multiple games
Computerized opponent
On-line help

All options which those 18th century fishermen did just fine
without, but I thought added to the fun!


In this version of Shut The Box, players alternate turns trying to
get the highest score possible shutting numbered doors matching
rolled dice.

At the beginning of play, panels ("doors") number 1 through 9 are
displayed on the screen, in an "up" position (see Figure 1).

| |---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| |
| | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | |
| |---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| |
| |
| |
Figure 1 (all doors up)

The player then rolls two dice, and closes any combination of doors
whose numbers total that of the dice. A player's turn ends when a
number is rolled which cannot be matched by any total of the
remaining open doors.

For example: A player's first roll is a six and a one, totaling
seven. The player may shut either the door numbered seven, or the
six and one, or the five and two, or the three and four, or the
one, two, and four.

In our example, the player chooses to shut (pull down) the two and
the five, leaving the board as you see in Figure 2.

| |---| |---|---| |---|---|---|---| |
| | 1 | | 3 | 4 | | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | |
| |---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---| |
| | 2 | | 5 | |
| |---| |---| |
Figure 2 (after first move)

On the next roll, the player rolls an eleven. The player can now
shut the eight and three, or seven and four. The 9-2 is no longer
valid because the two has already been closed. (Likewise, the 6-5
combination cannot be used).

A player's turn ends when all the doors have been shut, or until no
door (or combination of doors) can be shut which total up to the
sum of both dice. At this point the total of the numbers on the
doors which have been shut are added to the player's score, plus an
additional bonus of five points if all doors were shut.

All doors are then reopened, and the game passes to the next

After each player has played five turns, the player with the high
score is the winner!


At the end of each player's turn, his points from that turn (the
numbers on the "shut" doors) are added to the display of his/her
score, in the box toward the bottom of the screen.

This "scorecard" contains the player's name, score, and a graph of
his/her score. The graph shows you how well you are doing against
a perfect score.

A perfect round gives a player 50 points:

(1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 5 bonus points = 50)

With 5 rounds to a game, 250 points would be a perfect game. There
are 50 dots on the scorecard, and one is filled every five points.


At this point, you should be able to play the game, and get a feel
for it. You can read the rest of this document now at your leisure
to clarify points, and to explain some of the features you might
not understand your first few times through the game.

So, make sure you are in DOS, and type "MLSHUT" (without the
quotes) and press return. Follow the prompts, and enjoy!


Shut The Box can be played either using the keyboard or a
Microsoft-compatible mouse.


The legend (the last line on the screen) always contains a list
of keys that are valid at any point in the game, along with a
one-word description of their function. (See "COMMANDS" below)

When selecting the doors to shut, you can use either of two
keyboard methods:

1) Use the cursor left/right keys to point to a door and use
the cursor up/down keys to open or shut it, or

2) Use the numeric keys to select the number of the door to
open or shut.


Most of the keys listed on the bottom line of the screen can be
entered via the mouse by pointing to the command and clicking
the left button of the mouse. (If you are new to mice,
"clicking" something means to place the mouse cursor on it and
press the appropriate button, in this case, the left.)

Also, boxes higher on the screen with messages such as "Press
return for next player" will allow you to click the box itself
to continue, rather than the command at the bottom of the

When selecting the doors to open/shut after rolling the dice,
clicking an open door will close it, and clicking a closed door
will open it (provided that the door was closed after the last
roll of the dice).

So, experiment with the mouse, and see what works. I think it's
fairly straightforward, but would appreciate any feedback on
ways you think it could be improved (address at end of file).


A number of commands and toggles are available to enhance play, or
to allow you to tailor the game a little to suit your taste.
Alphabetically, these are:

A (AllScores command)

This displays a scorecard of all players, to compare how
everyone is doing in relation to each other. The highest
score(s) are emphasized with a flashing arrow. Also, the two
sets of lines jutting into the box from above and below show the
range of scores currently in the TopTen scores file. The score
is "graphed" as in the single-player scorecard.

B (BossKey command)

This displays a phony DOS screen. I'll explain for you honest
folks: this key is used when you are playing the game on company
time, and the boss suddenly appears. To return to the game, key
OK at the phony DOS prompt.

Esc (Exit command)

Use this key to end MLShut before the game is over.

R (Roll Prompt toggle)

This allows you to get rid of the "Press return to roll"
message, which some folks find annoying.

Defaults to "Yes", allowing the message to show.

N (Next Prompt toggle)

This allows you to get rid of the "Press return for so-and-so's
turn" message, which some folks find annoying.

Defaults to "Yes", allowing the message to show.

D (Demo toggle)

This allows you to put MLShut into Demo Mode, in which the
computer plays for all players.

Defaults to "No", allowing human play.

F (Fast Mode)

If you just want to play the game, and not look at some of the
"animation" (such as the rolling dice), turning the Fast Mode on
will do it.

Defaults to "No", showing all animation.

P (Pips Mode)

Allows you to select between dice with pips (dots) on them, or
with numerals on them.

Defaults to "Yes", showing the dots.

T (TopTen scores command)

Displays the highest ten scores achieved on your machine. (This
information is stored in the file MLSHUT.SCR. To clear the top
ten, delete the file.)

K (Show "Can't use this roll!" message)

If you want Shut The Box to notify players when they roll a
combination of dice which they can't use, specify this toggle.

Defaults to "No".


In the section above, several options are referred to as "toggles".
This simply means that they can be in a "Yes" or "No" state.

(Note that the state of these toggles can be determined by looking
at the legend appearing at the bottom of your screen. If the
toggle description there begins with a capital letter, the toggle
is in a "Yes" state. For example, if a legend reads "Sound fast",
the sound toggle is set to "yes", and the fast toggle is set to

Each of them has a "default", which is the state (either yes or no)
in which they start out when Shut The Box begins.

I set the defaults to the way I felt was best, but you may think

If you find yourself always changing one or more of the toggles
each time you play, you might want to set them on the DOS command
line instead.

Any toggle can be flipped to the opposite of its default (Fast Mode
= "Yes", for example) by keying the toggle's letter following the
program name (MLSHUT) when you start up the game.

So, if you wanted to set "Roll Prompt" to No, and Pips Mode to "No"
(the opposites of their defaults), at DOS you would key:


...without the quotes, followed by the Return key. Be careful that
you leave a space between MLSHUT and the toggle(s), or DOS won't
recognize what you are trying to do.

This allows you to tailor the game a little to your taste, and if
you put this statement into a DOS batch file or menu processor, it
will save you from setting these toggles each time you start the

Toggles only valid from the command line:

B (Black And White mode)

If you are running a composite monitor on a color graphics card,
and the colors in MLShut are hard to discern, keying "MLSHUT B"
at the DOS prompt will make MLShut run in Black And White Mode.

Defaults to "Yes" if Monochrome adapter detected, "No"

T (Top Ten Scores)

This is different than the "T" command available during game
play. It specifies whether a Top Ten Scores file should be
saved, and is useful if you are running the game from a write-
protected disk.

Defaults to "Yes".


VERSION 1.0 - 01/11/89

Initial version, released to a few beta testers.

VERSION 1.1 - 01/14/89

Fixed some incorrect headings.

Modified documentation some.

VERSION 1.2 - 08/15/89

Added recognition of some valid door combinations. (Oops...)

Added N/D/R/P/K to legend of valid commands.

Added "alphabet" to user name legend when mouse present.
(allowing entry of player names via the mouse!)

Cursor right from rightmost open door now goes to leftmost open door.

Cursor left from leftmost open door now goes to rightmost open door.

Fixed occasional problem when exiting Help via the mouse.

Added Upper/Lower case indication of toggle statuses in legend.


Thanks to all those folks who wrote nice letters and messages in
response to my last game, MLYaht. The positive response encouraged
me to turn this one loose on the world...

I'd like to thank my wife Cindy and my daughters Rosamund and
Genevieve for their tireless beta testing, and accurate
descriptions (such as "ooooh!" and "blech!") of what they liked
(and didn't like) about it.

Also many thanks to Greg Powers, whose comment "You know, I HATE
games that do that!" led to a major change in the scoring system
MLShut uses.

A tip o' the hat as always to the gang at MicroLink (Bob Rodrigue,
Jay Graham and David Storrs especially) for the encouragement and
support they always give my PC endeavors.

Thanks to Eagle Performance Software, whose Shareware product
"QWIK" allows for some blazingly fast screenwrites in Turbo Pascal.
(For a demonstration on just HOW fast, start MLShut with both Demo
and Fast modes set to "Yes", and hold on to your socks...)
Programmers interested should contact Eagle at:

Eagle Performance Software Or Call Jim LeMay at:
TP products (817) 735-4833
P.O. Box 122237
Fort Worth, TX 76121-2237

And, while I'm at it, thank you Phillipe Kahn!


I would appreciate any comments, complaints, or wish lists of
features you'd like to see! And, if you have any favorite old
games you'd like to see programmed, I'm always looking for another
which would interest me!

Also, if you like the game enough (and can afford) to send a small
($5) donation, I won't argue. And my wife will understand my long
nights at the PC a little better!

Either way: Enjoy the game, and give copies of it to all your
friends. And enemies. Strangers on the street...

I can be contacted by mail at:

Bob Lancaster / P.O. Box 5612 / Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

Or by modem at:

MicroLink PCUG BBS (AKA So. Cal Builder's Board)
818/961-7903 - 24hrs/365 days - 300/1200/2400/9600

Please include the version number of Shut The Box in correspondence.

Those interested in finding out more about MicroLink can contact
the board listed above, or by mail:

MicroLink PCUG Headquarters
15865-B E. Gale Ave. Box 1003
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

Tell them Shut The Box sent you!

 December 22, 2017  Add comments

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