Block Dominoes Rules
How To Play Block Dominoes
Number Of Players: 2 to 4
Domino Set Required: Normally uses a double-six set, but larger sets may support more players
Block Dominoes, also known as The Block Game, is the simplest of all domino games, and among the most familiar. As such is the forerunner of most other domino games.
After shuffling the dominoes, each player draws tiles to make up their hand. The number of tiles drawn depends on the number of players:
- 2 players draw 7 tiles each
- 3 players draw 5 tiles each
- 4 players draw 5 tiles each
The remainder of the tiles in the boneyard are not used. If there are four players, then they may play as partners, with the partners normally sitting across from each other.
The player with the highest double places the first domino. Play proceeds to the left (clockwise). Each player adds a domino to an open end of the layout, if he can. In the illustration to the right, for instance, the game is well in progress, and the "blank" and "1" are the open ends. Note that the layout may flow in any direction, turning as necessary. Note also that the 5-5 and 1-1 are placed in the customary crossways orientation, though may just as properly be placed in an inline orientation.
A player that cannot make a move must pass. In the block game, players may not draw tiles from the boneyard. The game ends when one player uses the last domino in his hand, or when no more plays can be made. If all players still have tiles in their hand, but can more no moves can be made, then the game is said to be "blocked".
The player with the lightest hand (i.e. the number of dots on their dominoes) wins the number of sum total of points in all of his opponents hands, minus the points in his own hand. If there is a tie, the win goes to the player with the lightest individual tile. For example, if one player has a 1-2, 2-4, and 3-5, and the other player has a 5-5 and a 3-4, they both have a total of 17, but the first player wins because his lightest tile (1-2) is smaller than the second player's lightest tile (3-4).
Games are often played in a number of rounds, where the score in each individual round (or hand) is added to the score in the previous rounds. When one player's total score exceeds a pre-established "winning score" (100, for example), the game is over and the winner declared.
There are some interesting variations to Block Dominoes discussed at Pagat.com.