Mouse Trap (Game Rules and Instructions)

This guide will explain the Mouse Trap game rules and instructions, so you know everything you need to know in order to play Mousetrap. 

Mouse Trap is a 3-dimensional board game in which 2-4 players try to steal cheese from the other players without getting trapped.

Mouse Trap is competitive and fun for all ages! 

This Mouse Trap game rules guide will cover the following:

  • What is Mouse Trap?
  • History of Mouse Trap the Game
  • What You’ll Need to Play Mouse Trap
  • Mouse Trap Game Rules
  • How to Play Mouse Trap (Video Tutorial)
  • FAQs

Continue reading to learn how to play Mouse Trap.

What is Mouse Trap?

Mouse Trap Board Game Info image

Mouse Trap is a game where you design a series of traps to catch the mouse as you move around the board stealing cheese from other players. The trap is similar to a Rube Goldberg-type contraption. 

The Mouse Trap game can teach kids many important skills such as building, cause and effect, and decision making. Mouse Trap isn’t just a game for kids; it is fun for all ages!

Number of Players: 2-4

Ages: 6+

Difficulty: Easy 

Length of Play: 30 Minutes

Similar to: Hungry Hungry Hippos, Chutes and Ladders, The Crazy Clock Game

Main Objective: Be the first to collect 6 wedges of cheese. 

Why We Love It: This game is more than just a regular game board: you have to build the board up! 

A Brief History of Mouse Trap

Mouse Trap was first invented by Marvin Glass in the 1960s. The game was then taken over by Hank Kramer and changed slightly to be more like the other kids’ games Candyland and Chutes and Ladders

It was modified slightly again in the mid 1970s by Sid Sackson to include the cheese pieces. Then in 2004, in the UK, it was changed to have 3 mousetraps. 

In 2014, a version of the game was made that had the characters from Elefun and Friends, which used a spinner instead of dice and did not use the cheese pieces. 

Lastly, in the 2010s, Hasbro made several changes to the game. They made it so that you were not eliminated when caught in the trap, but rather you had to give up a piece of cheese to your opponent. The trap itself was also changed to have a level rather than a crank. 

What You’ll Need to Play Mouse Trap

Everything you need to play Mouse Trap is in the box, which contains the following components:

  • Gameboard
  • 4 Mouse Pawns
  • Marble
  • 24 Mouse Trap Contraption Parts
  • Rubber Band
  • 24 Cardboard Cheese Wedges
  • Die
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Mouse Trap Board Game for Kids Ages 6 and Up, Classic Kids Game
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11/02/2023 10:22 pm GMT

Setting Up Mouse Trap

The first time you play, you will need to separate the cheese wedges from the cardboard sheet. 

Discard any remaining cardboard once wedges are removed. 

Every other time you play: 

  • Lay the game board on a flat surface. 
  • Put together the mouse trap contraption on the board. 
  • Give each player 1 cheese wedge. 
  • Place 2 cheese wedges on Start. 
  • Put the rest of the cheese wedges in a pile near the board. This is the cheese stash. 
  • Each player should choose a mouse pawn and put it on Start. 

Mouse Trap Rules

The Mouse Trap game rules are incredibly easy to follow:

  • Roll the die to see who will go first. Whoever has the highest number is first. Play continues to the left. 
  • The first player rolls the die and then moves clockwise the number of the die along the path. Follow the rules of the space that was landed on. 

How to Win Mouse Trap

Run around the board collecting cheese and stealing it from the other players. The first player to collect 6 wedges of cheese wins! 


  • Blue Launch-the Trap Space: If you land on this space, you will send any player you choose to the Cheesy Danger Zone. After you move their pawn to the zone, pull back the stop sign and launch the trap. If they get caught by the cage, you can take one of their cheese wedges and add it to yours. 
  • The Cheesy Danger Zone: This is the space you are sent to before the trap is launched. If you land on this space, you must stop. You could possibly be caught during someone else’s turn if they land on the blue launch-the-trap space while you are here. 
  • Yellow Add-a-Cheese Space: You found a piece of cheese! You can take a wedge from the cheese stash and add it to your collection. 
  • Green Steal-a-Cheese Space: You can steal a cheese wedge from ANY other player and add it to your collection. 
  • Red Lose-a-Cheese Space: Take one of your cheese wedges and put it in the stash. If you don’t have any, that’s okay; you are still in the game.
  • Purple Space: Nothing happens on a purple space. 
  • Mousehole Tunnel Space: You can travel through the tunnel to the space on the other side of the board if you want to. (The color of the tunnel space you enter must be the same as the color of the tunnel space you come out of.)

Launching the Trap

To launch the trap, pull back on the stop sign and let go of it!

Resetting the Trap

  • Put the bucket back on the staircase and put the marble back in the bucket. 
  • Rotate the broomstick so that the bucket is at the bottom near the end of the rain gutter. 
  • Attach the wrench to the broomstick to keep the broomstick in place. 
  • Put the diver back on the diving board.
  • Put the cage back on the cage pole. 

Other Mouse Trap Rules

  • The first player to make it all the way around the board gets to collect the 2 bonus cheese wedges placed on Start in the beginning. 
  • If you land on the blue launch-the-trap space and there is already a pawn there, you can still put ANOTHER pawn in the cheesy danger zone. You can take a cheese wedge from ANY mouse that gets caught! 
  • If you get caught by the mouse trap, you are still in the game. You just start from the Cheesy Danger Zone on your next turn. 
  • You cannot share spaces. If you land on the same space as another player, move ahead to the next available space. 
  • Always reset the trap if it is launched during your turn. 
  • If you make it all the way around the board, keep going until someone has collected 6 cheese wedges. 
  • If a player doesn’t have any cheese, can can send them to the trap instead of taking their cheese. 
  • When in the Cheesy Danger Zone, you must place your pawn on the cheese. 

How to Play Mouse Trap – Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Mouse Trap game based on? 

The Mouse Trap game is inspired by the complex drawings of Rube Goldberg. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor who created crazy contraptions.

How many pieces are in a Mouse Trap? 

There are 24 pieces in Mouse Trap. 

What is Mouse Trap an example of?

Mouse Trap is an example of a Rube Goldberg machine. 

Who invented the Mouse Trap game? 

Marvin Glass created the Mouse Trap game in the early 1960s. 

Alternative Games to Mouse Trap

Chutes and Ladders is a great alternative game to Mouse Trap, where you must be the first to get to the #100 square. 

The Fish Bait Game is similar to the Mouse Trap game because you have to play as fishermen and try to catch a man-eating fish. 

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