Double Bergen

This is a version of Bergen, played with a single spinner at the start of the game and a slight change in the scoring system.

Equipment

The basic game uses a double six domino set. Other versions use the larger set, however.

Score keeping can be made easier by issuing every player 10 or 15 chips (depending on the number of players) before the first round of play. As a player scores points, they return that number of chips to the container from which they came; the first player to discard all of his chips is the winner.

The Deal

  • 2 players get six tiles each, leaving a boneyard of 16 tiles.
  • 3 players get six tiles each, leaving a boneyard of 10 tiles.
  • 4 players get five tiles each, leaving a boneyard of 8 tiles.

The Play

One player picked at random starts the round by leading a double, which becomes the spinner for the round. If he is not able to place a double, the turn passes around the table until some player is able to lead a double. Play then continues from that point in the usual manner and the lead will pass to the player on the leader's left on the next round.

If no player is able to set a double when the turn comes back to the first player, the first player then draws a tile from the boneyard and play continues around the table until someone draws a double and leads it.

Players must complete all arms of the spinner before adding tiles to them. A player not able to add onto the arms of the layout draws new tiles from the boneyard until he can play or until the boneyard is empty. If a player can neither play nor draw from the boneyard, he passes his turn.

Play continues until someone dominoes or the game blocks.

After the first double, all doubles are turned crosswise, but are not spinners.

Scoring

After a player places his tile, he counts the number of occurrences of the same number on the ends of the arms of the layout.

  • Pair of ends or a double = 2 points
  • Triplet = 3 points
  • Four of a suit (quadruplet) = 4 points
  • Five of a suit (quintuplet) = 5 points

Notice that you could have a more than one scoring combination exposed at the same time. Unlike regular Bergen, an exposed double always counts as a pair because of its two matching numbers. This means that the first player always gets two points because he led a double. The following players also get two points for the double until all arms of the spinner are started. The rare "four pairs" score can only be made with a double on each arm of the layout.

A round is blocked when nobody can play and there are at least two dominoes in the boneyard. Players deduct 1 points per tile remaining in their own hands when the round blocks or one player dominoes. The player who dominoes deducts nothing.

A game is 100 points.

Comments & Strategy

Doubles are important and it can be worth holding them until the layout has grown a bit. In particular, when a double has been played on one arm, try to play on the remaining arms which do not have doubles to get points for it.

The game can also be played with a double twelve domino set, but it is not a good game. The tiles are arranged in an octagon pattern around the first double, thus giving a spinner with eight arms. Scoring is tricky with this many arms, since you can have several scoring combinations that have nothing to do with the last play made. One methods of scoring is to extend the double system given above:

  • Pair of ends or a double = 2 points
  • Triplet = 3 points
  • Four of a suit = 4 points
  • Five of a suit = 5 points
  • Six of a suit = 6 points
  • Seven of a suit = 7 points
  • Eight of a suit = 8 points
  • Nine of a suit = 9 points
    etc.