Pass and Out

Invented and contributed by Andy Lewicki

This is an aggressive variant of Block Dominoes in which a player who cannot play a tile and passes is immediately out of the game.

Two, three or four people can play. A double-6 domino set of 28 tiles is used. A Cribbage board is useful for scoring, or the score can be kept with pencil and paper.

The first player is chosen by drawing tiles from the shuffled set - whoever draws the heaviest domino (with the most spots) starts. Thereafter the turn to start passes clockwise after each hand.

The tiles are shuffled face down and each player draws a hand of 7 tiles. The remaining tiles (if there are 2 or 3 players) are set aside face down and not used. The first player begins by playing any tile and the turn to play passes clockwise.

The tiles are played in a single line in the usual way. Each player, at their turn, adds a tile from their hand to either end of line so that the touching tile ends are equal.

A player who is unable to play, having no tile that matches either end of the line, must pass and drop out of the pay, placing all their remaining tiles face down on the table. The player who most recently played a tile scores 1 point for each tile in the hand of the player who has passed. It is important the players who have passed leave their tiles face down in front of them, so that it is clear who has passed and who is still in the game.

When all players but one have passed and dropped out, if the last remaining player is able to play another tile on the layout, they score 1 point for each tile in their hand including the final tile they were able to play.

Example. Suppose are 4 players A, B, C, D in that order and A plays first. After C's fourth turn, if no one has passed yet, the number of tiles remaining in each player's hand will be A:3, B:3, C:3, D:4. If D now passes, C will immediately score 4 points, and if A also passes C will score a further 3 points. If B now plays a tile and C passes, B will score 3 points. Everyone is now out except for B. If B is able to play another tile she will score an extra 2 points since she had 2 tiles left at the moment when her last opponent dropped out. So in this deal A scored 0 points, B 5, C 7 and D 0. On the other hand if B is unable to play a tile after C passes she will score no extra points and the total scores for the deal will be A 0, B 3, C 7, D 0.

At the start of a hand, if the second player is unable to play on the initial tile and has to drop out, the first player scores double for this: 14 points since the second player still has their original 7 tiles. This double score only applies when the second player is unable to play on the very first tile.

The first player who achieves a cumulative score is 31 or more points wins the game.

Variants

The target score or the number of deals played can obviously be adjusted according to taste.

Instead of scoring the number of tiles in the hand of a player who passes, it is possible instead to score the total number of spots on the passed player's tiles. In this case the target score for winning the game would need to be much higher - say 181 points.

Last updated: 16th June 2020

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