domino-play How to play...  



A card-type domino game, played by three or four players with a reduced Double-Six domino set and a score sheet.  A relatively easy trick taking game.  The three player version of the game is described first.


All the blanks, apart from the double-blank, are removed from the domino set before play, leaving just 22 tiles.

The dominoes are shuffled, facedown, and then players draw 7 tiles each, leaving one widow tile left facedown in the centre of the playing area.

Players then in turn bid on the number of tricks they think they can win ("contracting" to win).  Players' bids must be a "pass" (no bid) or a bid between 4 and 7. Each subsequent bidder in turn must bid higher than the previous bid or pass. Once 7 is bid, the next highest bid must be 21 (called "shooting the moon") which is a bid to win all the seven tricks, but scoring 21 points. There are no further bids once 21 has been bid.  If no player bids at all, then all the dominoes are reshuffled and players play a new hand. Once the winning bidder has been decided with no further higher bids made, the winner takes the widowed tile from the centre of the playing area and discards one tile facedown from their hand.

Tiles rank according to the suit called by the lead player and by the spotted suits on the dominoes.  Doubles rank highest in their suit while the other tiles have two suits and rank according to the other spotted suit not called by the lead player.  Suits rank as double-blank, 6s, 5s, 4s, 3s, 2s, 1s.

The winning bidder sets down a tile and announces one suit of his choice on the domino.  Subsequent players then set down one of their tiles which must bear the suit called if possible.  If not, a player may set down any tile he wishes.  The player who sets down the highest ranked tile in the called suit, wins the trick and places the three tiles played as a stack in front of them.  The winner of a trick leads in the next and calls the lead suit.

Players score 1 point for each trick they win, except for the winning bidder, who scores the maximum of their winning bid even if they have won more.  If the winning bidder scores less than his bid, he scores minus his bid amount.  This makes negative scores possible.

A number of hands are played as before and the first player to score 21 points, wins the game.  Should more than one player go over 21 points in a round then the highest scoring player is the winner.

If the double-blank is lead it will win, where as it will lose against any other lead tile because it is the only blank-suited tile in the game.

It is important in the game to control the lead because a hand good in one suit could be bad in another.  The point of bidding is to get the lead.  The two opponents of the winning bidder should join together in a partnership to beat him.


Moon can also be played by four players as two partnerships.  In this version the full Double-Six set is used and the low bid is three tricks.  If a partnership who won the bid makes it, they are declared the winners of the hand and they score all the tricks they won.  If a partnership who won the bid fails to take the bid number of tricks, they score minus the total of their bid.  The first partnership to score a total of 21 points, wins the game.  The partnership who wins two out of three games, wins the match.




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