Dominoes Game Rules


GameColony offers 2 ways to play domino online:
  • Domino Live app for Android Phones & Tablets
  • Browser-based Java Dominoes
  • Variations

    There are 3 versions of online domino games at GameColony.com:

    • Five-up (also referred to as Muggins or All Fives)
    • Draw
    • Block
    Five-up Variation

    Object

    To be the first person to attain the agreed-upon number of points (100 - 500). Points may be awarded during the play of the hand by making the exposed ends of the chain total to a multiple of five (5). The winner at the end of each hand also scores points for all the pips remaining in the other player's hand rounded to the nearest multiple of five.

    Examples

    A player scores points if the sum of the two open ends totals a multiple of 5.
    If the dominoes on table are:
    The player who put the last bone scored 5 points - the some of ends of the above chain: 1+4=5 (multiple of 5)
    If the next player places:           
    the new chain will become:  
    The player who put the last bone scored 10 points - the sum of ends of the above chain: 6+4=10 (multiple of 5)

    If the double is at the open end, both sides of the double counted. In chain below, the last player scored 15 points: 5+5+5=15


    Deal

    At the beginning of a game, the hands are dealt by randomly shuffling all tiles and distributing seven (7) tiles (also called bones or dominoes) to each player. The remaining dominoes are placed in the boneyard to be drawn from by a player when he/she cannot play a tile from his hand. If this is the first hand of a game, the player with double six must play it first (also see options below - random 1st hand). If no one has the double six, the call goes out for double five, then double four, and so on until one of the players can produce the called for tile. Players then take turns. In subsequent hands, the winner of the previous hand starts the next game (see Options below: rotated start). When leading in a hand other than the first one in the game, the choice of play may be any tile in the lead player's hand.

    Game Play

    Once the lead tile has been played, the tiles that may be played are constrained to match the exposed ends of the chain.
  • If the tile is not a double it is placed horizontally
  • If the tile is a double, it is placed vertically
    Players take turns. If a player does not have any tiles which have a number of pips that matches one of the exposed ends of the chain, that player must draw from the boneyard one tile at a time until he/she draws one which may be played. If there is no boneyard or are no more tiles left in the boneyard, that player must pass. If a player has at least one tile that matches one of the exposed ends of the chain, that player must play a tile and cannot pass. Play may proceed off both ends of the chain, or from the exposed ends of the first double that is played once that double has had dominoes played from both its sides. That double is referred to as the spinner because the chain sprouts from all four sides of the domino. At most there will be four ends of the chain exposed; no other double may have additional dominoes played from it.

    In the picture below, double six was the first double placed in the chain and it became a spinner.
    The dominoes can be placed in 4 directions indicated by hotspots - empty rectangular placeholders.
    Please note: in the above picture, the bottom portion of the spinner is not 'activated' for scoring yet -- since no bone was placed there yet. Thus, in the above domino chain, the some of the end tiles is: 10 (4 + 4 + 2).

    End of Play

    The first player to use all his tiles wins the game. Once the winning piece is placed on the chain, the game is over and the players expose their remaining pieces to be counted in the scoring. No further plays can be made by any of the players. It is possible for the game to reach a dead end, where all play is blocked and no tiles may be played. This outcome is called a blocked or jammed game. In this case, the end of the game is determined when the boneyard is empty and all players pass consecutively (i.e., none of the players may make a legal play). To determine the winner, all tiles held by players must be exposed and counted. The player with the least number of pips on the dominoes still held is declared the winner.

    If a player does not have any tiles which have a number of pips that matches one of the exposed ends of the chain, that player must draw from the boneyard one tile at a time until he/she draws one which may be played. If there are no more tiles left in the boneyard, that player must pass. If a player has at least one tile that matches one of the exposed ends of the chain, that player must play a tile and cannot pass. When placing tiles on the chain, doubles are placed crosswise so that the end of the chain touches the side of the double. If a tile is played that is not a double, the matching end of the tile is placed adjacent to the end of the chain to which it matches, with the domino placed in a lengthwise fashion. Play may proceed off both ends of the chain, or from the exposed ends of the first double that is played once that double has had dominoes played from both its sides. That double is referred to as the spinner because the chain sprouts from all four sides of the domino.

    Scoring

    When summing the ends of the chain, a blank counts as zero points. Any double which is exposed sideways on the end of the chain is scored counting both ends of the domino. For example, if one end of the chain has a double four and the other end has a two, the score is eight (8) for the double four and two (2) for the two giving a total of ten (10) points. Once the hand is over, the dominoes held by the other players are totalled and rounded off to the nearest multiple of five (5). This total is added to the winning player or team's match score. If the hand was blocked or jammed, the total does not include the number of points held by the jamming player. If the number of points held by each player is the same, the hand is declared a tie and no extra points are added to any player's score. If all scores are less than agreed-upon number of points for the game (100-500), the game continues by playing another hand.

    Options and Defaults

    Who starts the 1st hand and how?
    • By default, the highest double in the first hand is forced - whoever was dealt the highest double must start the 1st hand with it (in the rare instance that nobody had any doubles, the highest bone starts).
      A domino table can also be created with an option of Random start (when 'no 1st hand forced double' default option is unchecked). In this case, the server determines randomly which play er will start. If this option is in force, then the player is free to chose what bone to start with.
    Who starts the new hand? Winner of the previous hand?
    • By default, the winner of the hand starts the new hand. A domino table can also be created with a non-default option 'rotated start'. With 'rotated start' non-default option, the starter of the next hand (also called 'first down') alternates every hand.
    • With the default options (winner starts and 1st hand forced double), if the game is blocked (in Five-Up & Draw games), then the player with the highest double will start the next hand. After a blocked hand, however, the player with the highest double does not have to start the hand with that highest double.
    In the table listings, the options are shown in short notation as in the following examples:
    • 100pt/5+ denotes the table set for 100 pt for Five-up (5) with a spinner (+)
    • 125pt/5* denotes the table set for 125 pt for Five-up (5) without a spinner (no +) with no forced double (*)
    • 125pt/5+O denotes the table set for 125 pt for Five-up (5) with a spinner (+) with rotated start (O)
    • 200pt/Drw denotes the table set for 200 pt for Draw variation (Drw) without a spinner (no +)
    • 100pt/Blk denotes the table set for 100 pt for Block variation (Blk) without a spinner (no +)


    Draw Variation

    As opposed to Five-Up variation above, points are not awarded during play for making multiples of five. Points are awarded only at the end of each hand.
    Each player tries to match the pips on one end of a tile from his/her hand with the pips on an open end of any tile in the chain. If a player is unable to match a tile from his/her hand with a tile in the chain, the player passes his/her turn. Each player may play only one tile per turn. If a player cannot match a tile with one in the chain, he/she must draw from the boneyard until the tile that can be played is drawn. If there are no tiles left in the boneyard, the player passes his/her turn. The first player to get rid of all dominoes wins the hand. If none of the players can make a play, the game ends in a block. If a hand ends in a block, the players turn the tiles in their hands faceup for counting. The player with the lowest total wins the hand and earns the points (1 point per pip) of all the tiles left remaining in his opponent's hand. The player who first reaches the agreed-upon number of points (100-500) or more is the overall winner.


    Block Variation

    This variation is similar to Draw variation above, except no player can draw from a boneyard. If none of the players can make a play, the hand ends in a block. The players turn the tiles in their hands faceup for counting. The player with the lowest total wins the hand and earns the points (1 point per pip) of all the tiles left remaining in his opponent's hand. The player who first reaches the agreed-upon number of points (100-500) or more is the overall winner.
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