Cube Digger

Cube Digger banner.
Release Date: 
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
PDF icon cubediggerplaysheet.pdf25.31 KB
PDF icon cubedigger.pdf210.18 KB
Setup Time: 
Play Duration (new players): 
Play Duration (experienced): 
Minimum number of players: 
Maximum number of players: 
Minimum Age: 

by Jonathan Leistiko and Sharon Cichelli


Find your opponent’s treasure chest and return to your home base without getting blown up.

You Need

  • Three copies of the Cube Digger game sheet:
  • A pawn for each player. A penny and a nickel work well.
  • Paper and pencil for each player.

If you don’t feel like using the Cube Digger game sheets, you can draw your own. Graph paper is very helpful if you’re doing this, but not necessary.

Setting Up

Give each player a game sheet, pencil, and pawn. Place the third game sheet face-up on the table. This is the common map. Your map is your private map.

Three Dimensions in two: On the game sheet, the grids labeled with Roman numerals represent cross-sections of a cube, like floors in a building. Therefore, square A2 on level II is “above” A2 on level I.

Choose a square marked with a house on the common map. This square is your home base. Your opponent starts in the other home square. Put your pawn on the common map in your home square while your opponent does likewise.

You have one treasure chest and eight bombs to place on the playing field. Secretly choose an unoccupied square that that is on the same level as your home base for your treasure chest. This square may not be adjacent to your home base. Mark the location of your treasure chest on your private map.

Hey, what’s an adjacent square? Good question. Any square that is directly to the left, right, front, back, top, or bottom of a square is adjacent to that square. If you’re in B3-II, then A3-II, C3-II, B2-II, B4-II, B3-I, and B3-III are all adjacent squares. No other square is adjacent.

Once you’ve placed your treasure chest, secretly place eight bombs by marking their locations on your private map. You may not place bombs adjacent to other bombs, your treasure chest, or either home base, nor may they be same squares as items or people. You must place all of your bombs.

You may place bombs on the same level as your opponent’s home base, but you run the risk of putting your bomb on top of your opponent’s treasure chest. If this happens, you won’t be able to get at that treasure chest until the bomb that’s sitting on it is detonated or defused. Detonating bombs can be… inconvenient.


On your turn you can step, scan, or defuse in an adjacent square.

Step – Move to an adjacent square that is not occupied by your opponent. Your opponent will tell you what you’ve stepped on, if anything. You may not deliberately step on your own bombs.

If you step on your opponent’s treasure chest, your opponent must erase it from his or her private map because you’re carrying it. You will win the game if you return to your home square without stepping on a bomb.

If you step on a bomb, it detonates. Put your piece back at your home square. Any bombs that were in that square are removed from the game. If you’re carrying your opponent’s treasure chest, you drop it. Your opponent gets to secretly place it according to the rules in “Setting Up.”

Scan – Name an adjacent square. Your opponent will tell you if there is a bomb in that square.

Defuse – Name an adjacent square. Any bombs in that square are removed from the game. If there are no bombs in that square, your opponent gets to take two turns in a row on his or her next turn.

You’re allowed to defuse your own bombs.


If you end your turn in your home square while carrying your opponent’s treasure chest, you win the game.


Instead of giving your opponent another turn when you fail to disarm a bomb, your opponent gets to ask you what’s in two separate squares on your private map.

Metal Detectors
After you take a step, your opponent must tell you whether you’re closer, farther, or the same distance from his or her treasure chest.

Bomb Sniffers
After you take a step, your opponent must tell you how many squares are bewteen you and his or her closest bomb.

Bigger Digger
Feel free to make up your own Cube Digger playing fields. To figure out how many treasure chests each player should have, divide the number of squares in the playing field by the number of players. Divide this number by 25 and round up. To figure out the number of bombs each player gets, divide the number of squares in the playing field by the number of players. Divide this number by 5 and round up.

As implied above, increasing the size of the playing field also lets you play with more players. Do your best to keep the starting bases as far from each other as possible.

Explosive Mole Launchers
Coming in this year’s year-end review. Neener, neener, boo-boo.

Origin and Credits

Gee. I can’t remember when I first came up with the idea for this game. I think it was before the end of 2000. It’s been sitting around in my files for a while. I never really quite felt that it was ready for release. Now that I’ve had about two years to mull it over and made a few changes to it, I’m pretty content with it now.

9/18/2002: I rendered the banner for Cube Digger last night. More accurately, I started the rendering for the banner last night, and it finished sometime during the day today. Volumetric atmosphere creates great lighting effects, but it’s a real bear to render. Whew! For what it’s worth, the current banner is a lot more appealing than the old one.

Thanks to Sharon for playtesting and editing the rules. Thanks to Atari games for making the 2600 game Flag Capture, which this is loosely based on.