Collecting Dominoes

This is a children's game created by Reiner Müller and published in his book DOMINOES: BASIC RULES & VARIATIONS (Sterling Publishing, New York; ISBN 0-8069-3880-3).


The game uses a double six domino set and two to four players.

The Deal

The tiles are arranged in a square in the middle of the table with seven tiles to each side, something like a Mah Jong layout. The first player, usually the youngest, takes three consecutive tiles from the wall to make his hand. The other players do likewise in turn.

The Play

When each player has his hand, the first player draws a tile from the wall. He can either retain this tile in his hand or put it in the center of table.

The next player has two choices. He can pick up the discarded tile or draw a new one from the wall. If he choose to draw a tile, he then has the option of discarding it.

If a player's discard is not picked up when the turn reaches them again, this tile is considered dead and cannot be used by any player (i.e. you cannot ever use your own discard again). It is left in the center, but turned face down.

The game ends when all the tiles have been taken from the wall.


At the end of the game, each player shows his hand and computes his score. This is done by dividing the collected tiles into groups of the same suit. No tile can belong to more than one group.

  • Two tiles = 2 points for each tile (4 points)
  • Three tiles = 4 points for each tile (12 points)
  • Four tiles = 6 points for each tile (24 points)
  • Five tiles = 8 points for each tile (40 points)
  • Six tiles = 10 points for each tile (60 points)
  • Seven tiles = 10 points for each tile (70 points)

The tiles that do not match cost the player points:

  • One unmatched tile = -1 point
  • Two unmatched tiles = -3 point for each tile (-6 points)
  • Three or more unmatched tiles = -5 point for each tile

For example, given a hand of eight tiles, it could be played several ways:

    [1-2] [1-5] [1-6]  a triplet of ones= 12 points
    [3-3] [3-4] [3-5] a triplet of threes= 12 points
    [2-4] [5-5]two unmatched tiles  = 2 * -3 points

    Total= 18 points

But you can squeeze out another point with some skillful re-arrangment:

    [1-2] [1-6]a pair of ones= 4 points
    [1-5] [3-5] [5-5]  a triplet of fives= 12 points
    [2-4] [3-4]a pair of fours= 4 points
    [3-3]one unmatched tile  = -1 point

    Total= 19 points

Comments & Strategy

While longer runs in a suit give you more points, it is also important to avoid having unmatched tiles left over. The example given above demonstrates this principle.

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This page was contributed by Joe Celko (   © Joe Celko 2001. Last updated: 30th November 2020