This is a variation on the block game with a strong element of luck, though if you can remember what the tiles are in your hand and the hands of other players, you will have an advantage.
The Dutch variant Billitonnen is traditionally played as light relief at the end of a session of Nos.
The game uses a double six domino set, and two to four players.
The size of the hand varies with the number of players:
- 2 players get 7 tiles each
- 3 players get 5 tiles each
- 4 players get 5 tiles each
The rest of the tiles stay in the boneyard and are not used in the round. The deal is unique in that all the tiles are left face down on the table in a row in front of the players.
The players draw for the lead and take turns placing tiles on either end of the train. Doubles are played across the line, but are not spinners.
In his turn, each player takes one tile from the right side of his row and turns it face up. If this is the lead for the round, it is placed in the center of the table to start the train. Otherwise, if the tile can be played on the train, the player does so. If the tile cannot be played on the train, the player turns it face down again and puts it on the left end of his row of tiles.
If a player cannot play, he passes. The hand stops when one player dominoes or when nobody can play. The lead for the next hand passes to the previous leader's left.
At the end of the hand, each player gets the total number of pips in his hands. The lowest scoring player is the winner and is credited with the sum of the scores of the losers, minus his own total. If there is a tie for lowest score, then nobody gets a score.
The game is played for 100 points in a two player or partnership game, and for 61 points in a three or four handed game. This convention allows a cribbage board to be used for keeping scores.
This Dutch variant is traditionally played at the end of the game of Nos to decide who will win the side pot containing the roundings. As in Nos, there are 3, 4 or 5 players. To decide who starts each player draws a tile and the highest spot value begins. In case of a tie, the tile a higher spot value on one end counts a higher. The tiles are distributed as follows.
- 3 players: 9 tiles each and one left over which is turned up in the centre of the table to start the layout.
- 4 players: 7 tiles each
- 5 players: 6 tiles each for the first three players; 5 tiles each for the other two.
The players place their tiles side by side face down in a row in front of them.
- When there are three players, the first player turns up his right hand tile and adds it to the turned up centre tile if possible, matching the ends as in ordinary dominoes.
- If there are four or five players the first player places his right hand tile in the centre of the table to start the layout, and then turns up next tile and adds it to the line if it matches.
The same player continues to turn over tiles and add them to either end of the line, until he comes to a tile that does not fit. He places this tile at the left hand end his tiles, face down unless it is a double, in which case it is placed face up. Then it is the next player's turn to try to add tiles from the right hand end of his hand to the centre layout in the same way.
A player who turns up a tile which would fit on either end of the layout is allowed to look at the next tile in his hand to help decide on which end to place the current tile.
Whoever manages to play all his tiles first is the winner.
Most of the variations are how you turn over the tiles. Some people allow you turn over any tile in your row, so that once you have seen all the tiles, you have full knowledge of all the tiles in play, assuming that your memory is good.