Doubles

Doubles (also known as Maltese Cross Dominoes is a variation of Draw Dominoes for four players. It is not really suitable for young children due to its complex rules.

Age: Adults and older children

No. of players: 4 players

Equipment: One set of 28 normal (double-six) dominoes

Time: 10 minutes+

Aim: To be the first player to get rid of all their tiles.

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1. Tiles are placed face down in the centre of the table and moved around to mix them up. Each player chooses five tiles at random. The remaining tiles are moved to the side of the table (still face down) so they are out of the way of all players. These remaining tiles are called the Boneyard. Players look at their tiles but try to prevent other players from seeing their tiles.

2. If one player has the double six, they place it face up in the centre of the table to start the layout. If no player has the double six tile, players pick up from the Boneyard until it can be played.

3. The next player on the left puts a tile which matches (on one end) the centre tile and so on around the table. One tile can be added to either end or either side of the first tile (forming a cross), with only one tile added per player. Players cannot extend the cross until it has been completed (but see step 4 below). If a player is unable or unwilling to play a tile, they must pick up one or more tiles from the Boneyard, either until they are willing or able to add a tile to the layout, or until there are only two tiles left in the Boneyard. If a player looks at any tile in the Boneyard, they must add that tile to their hand; they cannot choose and discard tiles. When there are only two tiles left, they remain 'hidden' in the Boneyard and players must then miss a turn if they are unable to play a matching tile to any of the four ends of the layout.

4. After the cross has been completed, a player cannot add a mixed number domino (that is, a domino that has a different number of spots on each end of the tile), until there is a matching double tile on the layout. For example, on the layout below, he cannot play the 3:1 tile onto the end of the 4:1 tile since no one has placed the double-one tile on the layout. However, the 3:1 tile can be played directly on the 3:3 tile.

Diagram of Doubles dominoes game

5. Play continues until one player has placed all their tiles in the centre. That player then scores all the spots on the remaining players' tiles. If no player can put all their tiles in the layout, the game is a draw and each player scores ten points.

6. The overall winner is the first player to reach 200 points or more.


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