domino-play How to play...  



This is a card-type domino game, in which the object is to win tricks from players' hands of tiles.  It is played by six players as two teams-of-three, with two Double-Six domino sets and a score sheet.


The first shuffler is selected by drawing lots. The two sets of dominoes are then shuffled, facedown, by the shuffler and then each player draws nine tiles that only they can look at, with two remaining tiles left which are not used during the further play of the hand.

The object of the game is to win tricks of tiles, scoring points for each one taken.  However, players must bid for the number of points they think they can win. A player's bid should be based on the tiles he holds in his hand, but the total bid is a prediction of how many points their team-of-three aim to score.

There are a total of 79 points that can be won in a hand. These are 1 point for each of the nine tricks played, plus 70 points scored for a number of "count" tiles won in the tricks. The "count" tiles are the tiles whose suits total either five or ten. There are four "count" tiles that score 10 points each: two 5-5s and two 4-6s. And there are six "count" tiles that score 5 points each: two 0-5s, two1-4s, and two 2-3s. The team that wins the tricks including any "count" tiles, scores the extra points.

The hand begins with a single round of bidding, starting with the player to the shuffler's left and then with players in turn announcing a higher bid, if they want, until the bidding reaches the shuffler who has the last option to bid. If a player can't or doesn't want to make a bid of at least 50, or a bid higher than the previous bid, then the bidding turn passes to the next player. Should all six players pass on their opportunity to bid, then all the dominoes are returned and a new hand is drawn and played, with the next player in turn taking the position of the new shuffler.

A player who holds three tiles bearing the same suit, has a potentially good hand and should bid, with that suit being declared trumps should he win the bidding. If they also hold at least two doubles as well, then they have a very strong hand and should make a high bid

The player who won the bidding with the highest bid, declares which suit they want as trumps for the hand. The trumps suit will rank higher than all other suits when it comes to winning tricks. (The ranking of tiles and suits is explained below). The player who won the bidding and declared trumps, then plays a single tile of their choice to the centre of the playing area, with each player in turn playing a single tile from their hand to the playing area. However, the subsequent players must "follow suit", which means if they hold a tile bearing the highest suit of the first lead tile, on either end, they must play it. If they don't, he may play any tile he wishes, including a tile bearing the trump suit. If a player holds more than one tile bearing the lead suit, they may play any one of their choice.

Only one player of the two teams-of-three who won the trick, then collects the six played tiles and places them next to himself, so players' point totals can be easily scored at the end of the hand. The player who won the last trick, plays the first tile in the next turn and may play any tile he wishes.

The tiles' suits rank from low to high as blank (0) up to 6, with the double of the suit ranked as highest. The trump suit tiles beat the other suits and must be played as trumps and not the suit on the other end of the tile. Tiles of the same suit rank according to the suit on the other end, so if a player plays 2-5 and 5 is the declared suit, then a tile bearing a 5 on one end with any suit higher than 2 on the other, would beat it, and a double-5 would beat all other tiles bearing the 5 suit, including the 6-5. So tiles in the suit of 5 rank in descending order as: 5-5, 5-6, 5-4, 5-3, 5-2, 5-1, 5-0 (blank). If another suit has been declared trumps, then a tile bearing the trumps suit would win if played, with the highest trump tile played winning if more than one have been played.

Once all nine tricks have been played, then the combined scores of each of the two teams-of-three are totalled. If the bidding team has made or exceeded their bid, they score all the points for the tricks and "count" tiles they won, and the opposing team scores the points for any tricks and "count" tiles they won. However, if the bidding team failed to make their bid, then they score nothing and the opposing team scores the number of points the losing team had bid, plus the points for any tricks and "count" tiles they have won.

The role of shuffler passes to the next player in turn for each new hand played.

A number of hands are played as before and the first team to score 250 points, wins the game. If both teams score a total over 250 points in the same hand, then the team who won the bidding for the final hand, wins the game.


Scoring may be simplified so that partnerships score one Mark for each hand won, with the first team-of-three to score 9 Marks, winning the overall game.

Nel-O is a variation in which a player may make a bid that he will lose every trick. He believes that the tiles in his hand are so low that his opponents will be unable to force him to win a trick. If a player wins the bidding with a bid of Nel-O, then in this event the bidder's partner turns all their tiles facedown and takes no further part in play of this round.  The winning bidder who called Nel-O leads the first tile in the first trick which is played with no trumps.

Some Nel-O players play trumps as a separate suit, with players having to play a double if able, when doubles are played as the lead tile.




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