How to Play Portal Board Game

It comes with cake pieces! Let’s find out how this game keeps even the smartest players on their toes. If you like licensed board games, you are sure to enjoy this one!

Not a single-person game, the Portal Board Game requires 2 to 4 players. In this board and puzzle game, each player gets eight pieces of cake of their color. The players make their moves by placing their cake pieces onto the game board. Players navigate their test subjects through test chambers to collect cakes from the other side of the board. The game comes with cards that have special actions printed on them. The players move according to the instructions on the card. Simply put, the game requires you to remove your opponent’s test subjects and gain the most cakes. The person with the most cake pieces on the board at the end of the game wins. 

Valve and Matt Hyra designed and launched the Portal Board Game in 2015. Portal- the cake acquisition game is a strategy-based table-top board and puzzle game. It is a licensed version published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. The Portal Board Game is the perfect game for a family game night or a sleepover with friends. You can play it in around 45 minutes amongst 2 to 4 players.

Table of contents


Playing the Portal Board Game

Developed by Cryptozoic Entertainment based on the Portal series, the strategy game is all about cakes. 


  • Game Board
  • Test Subjects
  • Cake Slices
  • Blue and Orange Portals
  • Character Cards
  • Aperture Cards
  • Cardboard Standees

Setting up the Game

First, players choose a color and pick out cake pieces, test subjects, and a portal gun card in the same color. Test chambers are made of 5 panels each. Players randomly construct the game board by discarding three test chambers and assembling three rows of test chambers as replacements. 

In this game, the left edge of the board is considered to be the new edge, while the left one is the old edge. Each player keeps their test subjects on the new edge of the board. You can place them in this manner: one in the top row, one on the bottom row, and two in the middle. 

As for the portal tokens, players should keep them on the top and bottom rows of the old edge on the board. Then, there are Aperture cards that players use for optional action.

How to Play- Breaking Down the Game Rules

The game involves players taking turns. Each turn allows the players to make three moves with an additional optional action. While players make all four actions in the same turn, the optional move comes first.

Using an Aperture card, you should play your optional action before the rest of your actions in a single turn. After the players play the instruction from the Aperture card, these are flipped and discarded. This gives the players an effect.

Next up, the players play from their test chambers. They can select either one of the four test subjects from a single test chamber to play their move. In case the player chooses to move only a single test subject, they get to an Aperture card. 

Here is how you are supposed to move your test subjects: you can play them by moving them together in a test chamber adjacent to their own. As players keep making their moves, you will see the test chambers moving towards the old edge. If the test chambers move to the old edge, they could be rewarded with a cake. This is not the goal of any player. 

As a subject moves to the old edge, the player who owned it should now place a Glados standee on it. Any test subjects in the test chamber receive a horrible death. However, the killings take place after the player with the most test subjects receives their reward according to the tile. 

Once the players have been rewarded with tiles or death, any cake on activated test chambers is incinerated. Also, all players receive their respective test subjects back.

Now, it is time to recycle the activated test chamber. You can flip the tiles and move them to any of the three rows on the new edge on the game board. It is important to make sure that all rows maintain three test chambers at the very least. Otherwise, you can place the tile on any row of your choice. 

In the game, the player with the most activated tiles receives cake, aperture cards, as well as additional test subjects. The game also consists of a companion cube that distracts test subjects from receiving rewards from their activated test chambers. Any player who receives the aperture cards or test chambers gets the benefit of blocking rewards for opponent players. These test chambers and aperture cards allow players to place companion cubes as well as the Turret that destroys your opponents’ test subjects on any tiles. 

Remember, when a test subject with companion cubes, turrets, or portals is recycled, all these tokens are added to the new edge of the laboratory. 

Now, if all aperture cards are taken, it is time to shuffle the discarded ones to start another round. Excluding the top one, a player shuffles all the aperture cards, and another cuts the deck once again. 

Tips and Tricks 

The Portal Board Game comes with a lot of hard-to-understand rules, meaning you might need a lot of practice to finally master the cake acquisition game. However, here are a few tips and strategies that can prove to be extremely helpful in understanding how you should go about with the game. 

  • While it can be difficult to maintain the lead, try your best to be the leading player with the most cakes. The best way to go about it is to look for chances to kill your opponent’s test subjects or even your own. You will realize during your games that it is always useful to kill your own test subjects in order to remain the leading player throughout. 
  • Oftentimes, players run short on cards, so keep in mind that playing a single test subject can earn you a free one.
  • Be careful about how you deploy your aperture cards. They can break or make your game.

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