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Opening the Pagoda


Also known as Hoi T'ap in Chinese and Ryong Hpai (Dragon Tablets) in Korea. A solitaire game for one player, played with a Chinese domino set.


The dominoes are shuffled, facedown, and arranged in a pyramid (as illustrated on the left) with two tiles at the apex, then with four below them and with subsequent descending rows made up of an incremental number of tiles.

The middle domino in the third row from top (marked A) is then pulled down taking the smaller pyramid on the inside of the layout down with it.  These tiles are then placed face-up along the base of the layout (as illustrated on the right) with the tile marked A placed face-up horizontally at the top.

The player then matches pairs of face-up tiles according to traditional Chinese pairing association (see below) and removes them from the layout.  Outer tiles on the layout without another tile either directly above or below are turned face-up, so once the top tile is paired, the two tiles on the row below it are turned face-up.   Once the outer pieces on the base of the layout are paired and removed the outer tiles directly above are turned face-up.  Play continues, matching and removing pairs, until the game is either blocked with no more matching pairs available to play, or until all the tiles are removed and the game is won.  

Matching pairs are made according to the traditional Chinese tile ranking system, and are listed below:

Six Pairs of Doubles

    1-1 & 1-1
    2-2 & 2-2
    3-3 & 3-3
    4-4 & 4-4
    5-5 & 5-5
    6-6 & 6-6

Five Pairs of Matching Singles (with two differing spotted ends, not doubles)

    1-3 & 1-3
    1-5 & 1-5
    1-6 & 1-6
    4-6 & 4-6
    5-6 & 5-6

Four Pairs of Matching Singles' Totals (same total number of spots on tiles, but with differing ends)

    2-3 & 1-4
    3-4 & 2-5
    3-5 & 2-6
    4-5 & 3-6

The Unique Supreme Pair

    1-2 & 2-4



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