Double Takes

This was a game developed by David Galt for Cardinal Industries double fifteen domino set. This is a simple trick taking game, like Moon. The gimmick in it is that the doubles are a permanent trump suit. The deal is also unusual in that the domino set is first shuffled, then distributed to the players in rounds. That is, you get part of the set, play those tiles, retire them, and then play the remaining tiles.

Equipment

The game uses a double fifteen domino set. The game can be played by two, three or four players, Four players form two partnerships.

The Deal

Each player in the two handed and four handed game gets seventeen tiles. The rest of the set is reserved for further hands; this means that the four handed game gets two rounds out of a single shuffle of the set, and the two handed game gets four rounds.

Each player in the three handed game gets fifteen tiles. The rest of the set is reserved for further hands; this means that the three handed game gets three rounds out of a single shuffle of the set. In this case, there will be one tile left over. This remaining tile is added to the last trick taken in the game.

The Play

The first player of each trick leads any tile from his hand and declares the suit of the tile. The following players then discard tiles from their hands to make the trick. They must follow suit if they are able. Otherwise, they may discard any tile they have.

The trick is won by the highest tile played in the suit lead, or by the highest double played not in the suit lead. A double in the suit lead is counted as a tile in the suit and not as a member of the doubles suit.

The winner of the current trick leads the next trick. Play continues until all seventeen tricks are done. It is a good idea to count the points won at this time. The tiles which were used in this round are put aside and the remaining tiles are dealt for another round.

When all the rounds have been played, the entire domino set is shuffled for another game. The lead for each round moves clockwise around the table.

Scoring

Each trick taken is one point. Each double taken is one point. This means that the two and four handed game has 50 points (34 tricks and 16 doubles) per shuffle of the domino set. The three handed game has 61 points (45 tricks and 16 doubles), which makes a Cribbage board ideal for score keeping.

There is a five point penalty for revoking (failure to follow suit when able). Given the size of the domino set, this can be a real problem.

The winner is the player or the partnership which has the highest score after the entire set has been used in the rounds.

Comments & Strategy

Frankly, the sheer size of the domino set makes the game awkward. Players have to manage large hands, counting tiles is virtually impossible and the size of the stacks captured tiles clutter the table top. Cardinal Industries makes a color-coded double fifteen domino set which helps players match the suits visually.