Number of Players: 2 and up
Type of Dominoes Used: Double 6
Type of Game: Blocking Game
A.K.A. Draw Dominoes, the Draw Game, the Draw or Block Game, Block Dominoes with Buying, Domino Big Six, and Double-Six Dominoes.
Number of dominoes drawn: For 2 to 4 players, each player draws 7 tiles. If 5 or more are playing, prior to the start of the game players should determine and agree upon the number of tiles each player should draw from the deck. (If 2 players, each draws 7 or 8 tiles; 3 or 4 players, draw 5 or 6 tiles.)
After each player draws his hand from the deck, the remaining tiles are pushed to one side to make up the boneyard.
If a player cannot match a tile with one in the layout, he must draw from the boneyard until he picks a tile that can be played. He must keep the tiles he drew but couldn’t use on that play. If there are no tiles left in the boneyard, the player passes his turn to the player on his left.
Set domino: Any domino may be used.
After a tile has been set, play continues to the left.
How to play: Each player tries to match the pips on one end of a tile from his hand with the pips on an open end of any tile in the layout. If a player is unable to match a tile from his hand with a tile in the layout, the player passes his turn to the player on his left. Each player may play only one tile per turn.
The first player to get rid of all dominoes announces “Domino!” and wins the game. if none of the players can make a play, the game ends in a block. If a game ends in a block, all the players turn the tiles in their hands faceup, count the pips on each tile, and add them together. The player with the lowest total wins the game and earns the points (1 point per pip) of all the tiles left remaining in his opponents’ hands. The player who first reaches 100 points or more is the overall winner.
Set Variations: 1) highest double, and in the event no double is drawn, re-shuffle and re-draw; 2) 6-6, and in the event the 6-6 is not drawn, re-shuffle and re-draw; or 3) highest double, and in the event no double is drawn, play the highest single.
Other rules: The game can be played with no spinners (which seems the most often used rule) or by using the first double as the only spinner of the game.
In most places, Draw is played to 100 points. However, there are many different variations, including to 50, 150, 200, or 101 points.
After shuffling the dominoes, each player draws a single tile to determine who goes first; the lead goes to the heaviest tile (this is known as “drawing lots”. These tiles are then returned to the stock and reshuffled. Each of the player then draws tiles to make up their hand. The number of tiles drawn depends on the number of players:
2 players draw 7 tiles each
3 players draw 5 tiles each
4 players draw 5 tiles each
The remainder of the tiles make up the boneyard (or “stock”), and are held in or reserve to be drawn upon at need.
The first player (as decided by the drawing of lots) places the first domino. The first tile down can be of any value, and need not be a double. However, the first double played, whether it is the initial tile or not, can be played off of on all four edges. This initial double is known as the spinner. All subsequent doubles can only connect on two edges.
Play proceeds to the left (clockwise). Each player adds a domino to an open end of the layout, if he can. If a player is unable to make a move, he must draw dominoes from the boneyard until he can make a move. If there are no dominoes left, then the player must pass.
The object of the game is to make to make the open ends of the layout add up to 5 or a multiple of five (5, 10, 15, 20, etc.). The player who makes such a score receives that number of points.
At any time there may be 2, 3, or 4 open ends. When a double is first played, all of its dots count toward the total.
If the first tile placed is a 5-5, then the player scores a 10. At this point all sides of the 5-5 are available for play.
If the second tile placed is a 5-0, then the player scores a 10. At this point three sides of the 5-5 are available for play, as well as the blank.
If a 3-5 is played on, the 5-5, the total is 13 (5 + 5 + 3 + 0), so that move scores no points. If the next move is a 0-2, then the total is 15 (5 + 5 + 3 + 2), so the player scores 15 points. The top and bottom of the initial 5-5 are still available for play, as is the 3 and 2.
Four moves later, a 5-4 has been placed atop the 5-5, a 2-2 has been placed off the 0-2, a 2-5 has been connected to the 2-2, and a 3-3 has been connected to the 3-5. The total is 20 (5 + 4 + 3 + 3 + 5), so the player scores 20 points. There are now 4 open ends: the bottom of the initial 5-5, the 3-3, the 4, and the 5 on the right. Note that the top and bottom of the 2-2 are not open; likewise the 3-3. Only the first double played is a spinner, so in the case of the 3-3, only a single tile may be played to its left.
Ending A Hand
A hand ends either when a player plays all his tiles, or when a game is blocked, at which time the lightest hand wins total of his opponents points (minus any points in hs own hand), rounded to the nearest 5, and divided by 5. For example, if the winning player has 3 points in his hand, and his three opponents have 5, 11, and 13, then the total difference is 26 (5 + 11 + 13 – 3). This is rounded down to 25 and divided by 5. Thus, 5 additional points are added to the winner’s total. All players retain the points that they have attained during gameplay, but only the winner gets the bonus points at the end of a hand.
Winning A Game
A game is generally played to 100, 200, or whatever is agree upon before the game begins.
A Cribbage board can also make a handy scorekeeping device. If a Cribbage board is used, the point totals during play (5, 10, 15, etc.) are divided by 5, yielding 1, 2, 3, etc. End-of-hand bonus points are still given full value (in which case they become even more important). Games played using a Cribbage board are typically played to a score of 61.
The ends of the initial double (the spinner) do not count towards the point total once both sides of the tile have been played. If using this rule, then the pips on the “5-5” in examples “c” and “d” in the above diagram are not included in the total points.
Domino Plaza reports that all dominoes are spinners, and can be played off on all four edges.
Puremco provides a version in which each player draws 5 tiles from the stock, regardless of the number of players.
All Threes is basically the same game, except using multiples of 3 for scoring points.
After shuffling the dominoes, each player draws tiles to make up their hand. The number of tiles drawn depends on the number of players:
2 players draw 7 tiles each
3 players draw 5 tiles each
4 players draw 5 tiles each
The remainder of the tiles in the boneyard are not used. If there are four players, then they may play as partners, with the partners normally sitting across from each other.
The Block Game
The player with the highest double places the first domino. Play proceeds to the left (clockwise). Each player adds a domino to an open end of the layout, if he can. In the illustration to the right, for instance, the game is well in progress, and the “blank” and “1” are the open ends. Note that the layout may flow in any direction, turning as necessary. Note also that the 5-5 and 1-1 are placed in the customary crossways orientation, though may just as properly be placed in an inline orientation.
A player that cannot make a move must pass. In the block game, players may not draw tiles from the boneyard. The game ends when one player uses the last domino in his hand, or when no more plays can be made. If all players still have tiles in their hand, but can more no moves can be made, then the game is said to be “blocked”.
The player with the lightest hand (i.e. the number of dots on their dominoes) wins the number of sum total of points in all of his opponents hands, minus the points in his own hand. If there is a tie, the win goes to the player with the lightest individual tile. For example, if one player has a 1-2, 2-4, and 3-5, and the other player has a 5-5 and a 3-4, they both have a total of 17, but the first player wins because his lightest tile (1-2) is smaller than the second player’s lightest tile (3-4).
Games are often played in a number of rounds, where the score in each individual round (or hand) is added to the score in the previous rounds. When one player’s total score exceeds a pre-established “winning score” (100, for example), the game is over and the winner declared.