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Chris Smyth writes: Having spent a great deal of time researching (and playing all that I could I find) solo/one player/solitaire/patience type domino games I found little that was of interest compared to those available for playing-cards. Many of the offerings available were simply boring, seemed to use no skill and often finished after a couple of draws because the game was blocked and so had to be restarted. It was with this in mind that CrissCross, UpDownStop and The Seven Pis (π) have been developed.


The game uses a double six domino set, but other sets can also be used.

An Overview

The idea is to place all the dominoes and so have none left. A cross (see variations) is formed allowing four directions of play. Dominoes that do not match are placed face down to one side to be used again once all the others have been tried.

The Play

The dominoes are placed face down and shuffled to form the draw pile.

A domino is drawn and placed face up. The next domino is then drawn and either it can be played on the first domino or it can start the next arm of the cross. Doubles can start the cross (see variations). Play continues either adding each domino to an open end by matching or adding it to the cross. If a tile cannot be played elsewhere, it must go to start the cross. Once the four arms are complete play has to be on the open ends.

  • First domino 6|2 placed vertically.
  • Second domino 6|1 has the choice to play on the first domino or to form part of the starting cross as shown (either way round as the tiles at the centre of the cross do not have to match).
  • Third domino the double 1|1 can be the third arm of the cross but has been played as shown. Once all the cross arms are complete play is only on the open ends and any domino that cannot be played joins the scrap heap.

If a domino does not match then it is placed face down in a scrap heap and the next domino from the initial shuffle is drawn. Once all the dominoes have been tried and the initial shuffle completely used, then the scrap heap is shuffled and becomes the draw pile and the game continues. The scrap heap can be shuffled as many times as you like until no more dominoes can be laid. The number of remaining tiles is the score.


The number of remaining tiles is the score - the aim is to score zero.

Comments & Strategy

The game has a satisfying feel, in that you get totally involved and another game usually ensues. It seems to go out about 1 in 5 games.

As for strategy, possibly counting dominoes may be useful, otherwise placing the domino to keep options open, but seems to be the doubles that cause problems.


  • The first four tiles picked up form the cross
  • Doubles cannot start the cross and if there is nowhere to play go straight to the scrap heap
  • Try a three or five spokes instead of a cross

Try UpStopDown and The Seven Pis (π). Any comments, suggestions or improvements please email