Seven Rocks

This game is a member of the Fives Family. It is also known as Decimal, Texas Dominoes, and Single Spinner. It was supposed to be a favorite of President Lyndon Johnson. Dominic C. Armanino made this game extremely popular in California and the Southwestern United States with a series of books and tournaments and I will follow his rules.

Equipment

The game uses a double six domino set. The game is played by four players in two partnerships. A cribbage board is useful for scoring, since scores are totaled as they are made and not at the end of the hand.

The Deal

Each player gets seven tiles an there is no boneyard.

The Play

The first player in the first hand is determined by lot. In the following hands, the player who dominoed in the previous hand plays first. If the last hand was blocked, then the lead is again determined by lot. The lead can be any tile in the player's hand.

The next players must match the ends of the tiles on the table. Doubles are turned crosswise and count as the total of their pips for scoring purposes.

The first double, and only the first double, played is used as a spinner. The usual rules for placing tiles on a spinner apply. That is, the first and second tiles played against the spinner must be placed against a side, then the third and fourth tiles must be placed against the ends.

If a player cannot play a tile, he must draw tiles from the boneyard until he has a tile which will play or the boneyard is empty. When he draws a tile which will play, it goes on the table immediately and his turn ends. If he empties the boneyard and still cannot play, he passes and the next player takes his turn.

The hand continues until one player dominoes or until all players are blocked.

Scoring

After a player has set a tile, the two, three or four ends of the layout are totaled. If this total is a multiple of five (5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 points), the player immediately scores that number of points. The spinner and turned doubles on an arm of the layout score the total of its pips; that is [5-5] is worth ten points, [6-6] is worth twelve point and so forth.

When two tiles are placed against the sides of the spinner, only the ends of those tiles are scored, just as if the spinner was any other turned double. This can be confusing because the ends of the spinner are open for setting other tiles.

When the hand is finished, either by being dominoed or by being blocked, the pips on the tiles remaining in each hand are totaled and the total is rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of five. For example, a hand with [1-2] would round to five points, while [1-1] would round down to zero points. These points are then subtracted from that player's score.

The game is played for 250 points.

Comments & Strategy

This is a version of All Fives without a boneyard, so all of the comments on that game apply here. Remember that the goal is to score, not to block or domino.