- The Deal
- The Play
- Comments & Strategy
- Other Draw Dominoes WWW sites
- Software and online games
This is one of the simplest and most common domino game, taking its name from the rule that allows players to draw new tiles from the boneyard. As a result, it is played in a dozen different ways by everyone. This is one set of rules, but some more common variations are given in the variations section. Any of the Block game variations can be converted to a Draw game by allowing the use of the tiles left in the boneyard.
The game uses a double six domino set, but other sets can also be used when you have more players.
The size of the hand varies with the number of players:
- 2 players get 7 tiles each
- 3 players get 7 tiles each
- 4 players get 6 tiles each
The rest of the tiles stay in the boneyard.
The four handed game can be played in partnerships or as individuals. The players draw for lead (or set) and take turns placing tiles to form a single line. A tile can be placed on either end of the line. Doubles are played across the line, but are not spinners.
A player who cannot or does not wish to play a tile from hand must draw from the boneyard. The player continues to draw tiles until either he plays a tile or the boneyard is reduced to two tiles. The last two tiles of the boneyard are not drawn, and when the boneyard has only two tiles a player who cannot play simply passes his turn. A player must always end his turn by playing a tile unless the boneyard is reduced to two tiles and the player has no playable tile.
The hand stops when one player dominoes or when the boneyard is reduced to two tiles and nobody can play. Note that if the layout is blocked, both ends of the line showing a number of which all tiles have already been played, the next player in turn will have to draw all the remaining tiles from the boneyard except for the last two.
It is legal to draw from the boneyard when able to play, or to continue drawing after a playable tile. A player may do this in the hope of finding a tile that can be used to block the game thereby forcing the next player to draw a large number of tiles.
After the hand is ended and scored, the tiles are shuffled again and the turn to lead passes to the player to the left of the previous leader.
At the end of the hand, each player gets the total number of pips on the tiles in his hand. 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.
Comments & Strategy
The best play is to set your strongest suit, preferably with a double, so that you will have more options for further plays when it is your turn again. The better control you have of a suit, the more you should try to leave that suit on the ends of the train.
In a partnership game, you can assume that your partner's lead is his strongest suit and play to it.
Dutch: According to the Domino Plaza web site, in this game a player draws one or two tiles from the boneyard, and passes his turn if this does not give him a playable tile. The [0-0] counts as 13 points.
The four-player game with partners, in which each player takes 7 tiles and there is no boneyard and therefore no draw, is described on the partnership dominoes page. This game is popular in Spain and Latin America.
In Puerto Rico when there are two or three players a draw game with seven tiles each is played. It is usual for the holder of the double six, or if it is not dealt the holder of the highest double dealt to start the game, and the player must begin with this double. Thereafter the winner of each game begins the next. A player who cannot play draws from the boneyard until he finds a playable tile, but it is illegal to draw when able to play. The winner scores the total number of pips left in the hands of all players and the other players score nothing. In the case of a blocked game the winner is the player with the least pips. In case of a tie some play that there is no winner and the highest double starts the next game; others play that the player who blocked the game is the winner. This game is described in detail on Jose Carillo's Puertorican Dominoes page.
In Austria the game is played using an [8-8] set without doubles (36 tiles) - at least this was the usual game there until the mid 20th century - see the Austrian Dominoes page.
In some places, for example in Egypt and Iraq, it is usual to form the boneyard tiles into a row and require players who draw to take tiles from a specific end of this row - they cannot choose which tile to draw. This is presumably to discourage players from trying to remember the position of particular tiles in the boneyard after an imperfect shuffle so as to be able to draw the tile they need.
Numerous other variations may be found in various places. Here are some examples.
- Different numbers of tiles in the hands.
- South Americans will sometimes use the formula (8 - the number of players) = the number of tiles in the hands.
- Vietnamese start each player with a hand of one tile and draw in turn until someone obtains the [6-6] to start the game.
- Demanding a redeal
- Some allow a player who is dealt more than a certain number of doubles - for example at least three or at least four doubles - to annul the hand and demand a redeal.
- Sultan Ratrout reports that in Jordan and Iraq, some groups require a player who has 5 or more tiles showing the same number to declare this and annul the hand for a redeal, because this hand is considered too strong and would enable the player to dominate the play..
- The player who leads (or sets), either initially or after a blocked hand may be chosen in various ways.
- Players can draw for the highest tile.
- The last player who led, leads again.
- The lead rotates clockwise around the table.
- All players draw a tile and expose them at the same time. The pips are totaled and the total is divided by the number of players, then one is added to the quotient. The players are numbered from 1 to (n) and the player whose number matches the quotient leads.
In a two handed game, the players can just call out "odd" or "even" as guess to what kind of number the total with be when they expose their tiles.
- In Ukraine and some central Asian countries the player with the highest double leads.
- Some play that the game must be started with the [6-6]. In this case if no one holds the [6-6] players draw in turn from the boneyard until someone obtains this tile.
- The first tile played can be:
- Whatever tile the player chooses. This is common in France.
- The tile is required to be the [6-6], or the player's highest double, or the tile with most spots if no double is held.
- When a player is unable to play:
- A player must draw tiles from the boneyard until a playable tile is drawn or the boneyard is empty.
- There may be a limit on tiles that can be drawn (see below).
- Sultan Ratrout reports that some people in Arabic countries play that when the game is blocked, both ends of the line showing a number of which all tiles have been played, the game immediately ends and is scored. No further tiles are drawn from the boneyard.
- When able to play:
- A player may draw tiles from the boneyard before playing. This includes continuing to draw after a playable tile is drawn
- A player who holds a playable tile must play it immediately - this player is not allowed to draw.
- The tiles in the boneyard can be drawn until:
- The boneyard is emptied.
- The last two tiles must remain in the boneyard. It is a good idea to stack these two dead tiles on top of each other after the deal. In England, this variant is sometimes called Domino Pool. There is a variant Auction Draw Dominoes in which the last two tiles are auctioned to the players.
- Players may draw as many tiles as they wish but must pay for each tile drawn from the boneyard in points or chips.
- The number of tiles a player can draw may be limited to one or two per turn. After drawing the player must play if possible, or pass if they have no playable tile.
- Early accounts specify that the winner of the game - the player who goes out or has fewest remaining pips in a blocked game - scores just 1 point for a win. In case of a tied blocked game no one scores.
- A common method is for the winner to score the total pips on the tiles of the other player(s), as in the main description above.
- In the case of a blocked game, normally the winner is the player with fewest pips. There are several possible ways to score:
- the winner may score the total of all the remaining pips including their own
- the winner may score the total of the other player's pips less their own pips
- the winner may score the total of the differences between the other players' pips and their own pips
- In a team game the winners may be the team in which one of the players went out or the team that has fewest pips on their remaining tiles (in which case the team of the player who went out may lose if that player's partner has a lot of pips unplayed). The score may be the difference between the winners' and losers' total pips (if the winning team is determined by the number of pips), or just the total pips on the tiles of the losing team.
- In the case of a tied blocked game there are various possibilities - either no one scores or the tie may be resolved in favour of the player with fewest tiles or against the player with the largest number of pips on any of their tile ends, or in various other ways such as giving the game to the player who has fewest remaining pips ignoring those involved in the tie.
Other Draw Dominoes WWW sites
Rules for Draw Dominoes can be found on the Domino Plaza site.
Draw dominoes software and online games
Game Colony offers head to head Draw Dominoes games and multi-player tournaments, which can be played free or for cash prizes.
You can play Draw Dominoes online at VIPgames.com.
A Draw Dominoes game which can be played locally against the computer or online is included in the Favorite Games Ltd. package.
A version of Draw Dominoes can be played online under the name Domino at the turn-based servers Yourturnmyturn.com (English), Brettspielnetz.de (German) and Jijbent.nl (Dutch).
Rubl.com offers a two-player online draw domino game for prizes.
Draw Dominoes can be played against computer opponents at Online Domino Games.