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Flower and Scorpion

A variation on Bergen, played with a Double-Six domino set and with the addition of two pairs of dice to allow for additional scoring combinations.  It is a point-type domino game for two to four players.  It is thought the game originated in the Middle East or North Africa, where additional game conventions were added by the local population after occupying German and French troops introduced the original version of Bergen.  It is believed the two dice used to play Flower and Scorpion were taken from the board game of Backgammon which is extremely popular in the region.  The two pairs of dice should be of different colour so they can be distinguished from one another.  Traditionally, a bowl of chips, matches, or other tokens is used to keep score.

Play:

Players throw the dice and the highest thrower becomes the Caravan Master for the first round of play.  The dominoes are shuffled, facedown, then the Caravan Master deals each player their hand.

  • 2 or 3 players are dealt 6 tiles each.
  • 4 players are dealt 5 tiles each.

Any remaining tiles are used as the boneyard (traditionally called the Oasis) and may be drawn upon by players during the course of play.

The Caravan Master rolls the two pairs of dice with one pair representing the Scorpion and the other pair representing the Flower.  The two pairs of dice are set aside and are not rolled again during the course of a round.

The Caravan Master sets down the first domino (the double-six, heaviest double or whatever convention players have agreed on) and then players in turn lay tiles onto the open ends of the domino layout with same-number adjacent to same-number (doubles are placed horizontally onto the ends of the layout but are not played to allow play to branch four ways, known as a spinner).  Should a player be unable to set a domino from their hand onto the layout, they must continue drawing tiles from the boneyard until they are able to play one or the boneyard is exhausted.

The Caravan Master will give or take chips from players as they make scoring plays.  The scoring plays in a game of Flower and Scorpion are described as follows:

If the Flower pair of dice are the same as the Scorpion pair of dice then both pairs are cancelled out and no special scoring is made during this round.

If both tile ends on both ends of the layout bear the same spotted value, the player scores 2 points.  This is known as a "dual".

If both ends of the layout bear the same spotted value and one end is a double, the player scores 3 points.  This is known as a "plural".

If a player sets a tile onto the layout that bears the same two spotted values as the Flower pair of dice, they score 1 point.  This is known as a "short flower".

If both ends of the layout bears the same two spotted values as the Flower pair of dice, they score 1 point.  This is known as a "long flower".

If both ends of the layout bears the same spotted values as the Flower pair of dice and one end is a double, they score 2 points. 

If both ends of the layout bears the same spotted values as the Flower pair of dice and both ends are doubles, they score 4 points. 

If a player sets a tile onto the layout that bears the same two spotted values as the Scorpion pair of dice, they lose 1 point.  This is known as a "short scorpion".

If both ends of the layout bear the same two spotted values as the Scorpion pair of dice, they lose 1 point.  This is known as a "long scorpion".

If both ends of the layout bear the same spotted values as the Scorpion pair of dice and one end is a double, they lose 2 points. 

If both ends of the layout bear the same spotted values as the Scorpion pair of dice and both ends are doubles, they lose 4 points. 

Once a player has dominoed by setting their last tile, or the game is blocked with no player able to set a tile, the round is over and the player who dominoed scores 1 point.  If the game was blocked, then the player who has the flower matching tile left in their hand scores 1 point.  If no player holds the flower matching tile then the player holding the scorpion matching tile, scores 1 point.  If no player holds the flower or scorpion matching tile, then the player with the lowest double scores 1 point.  If no player meets any of the previously mentioned conditions then no one wins and no points are awarded.

A number of rounds are played, as before, with the next player becoming Caravan Master in the next round, and the first player to score 20 points, wins the game

 

 

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