Matador

Matador is an unusual variation to the normal game of Draw Dominoes and is suitable for both adults and children.

Age: All ages

No. of players: 2 to 8

Equipment: One set of double-six dominoes (for 2-4 players); a set of double-nine dominoes (for 5-8 players)

Time: 15 minutes+

Aim: To be the first player to reach 50 points.

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1. The dominoes (or tiles) are placed face down in the middle of the table and moved around to 'shuffle' them.

2. If there are 2 players, they choose 7 dominoes each; 3 or 4 players choose 5 tiles each. Larger groups (playing with a set of double-nine dominoes) also choose five tiles each. Unused tiles are moved to the side of the table (the 'Boneyard'). Players look at their tiles but try to prevent other players from seeing their tiles.

3. The player with the highest double (for example, 6:6, or 9:9 in larger groups) places it in the middle of the table. The player on their left then tries to place a tile to either end so that the adjoining spots add to exactly seven (ten if you are playing with double-nine tiles). However, the double-blank domino and the tiles with spots which add to the target score (6:1, 5:2 and 4:3 for the double-six game; 9:1, 8:2, 7:3, 6:4 and 5:5 for the larger groups) are wild tiles called matadors and can be played at any time. They are especially useful for unblocking an end that has a blank.

4. Play continues, building tiles in a straight line. If a player is unwilling or unable to play, they may take a tile from the Boneyard. When there are only two tiles left in the Boneyard, they remain 'hidden' and players must play a tile if possible, or miss a turn if they are unable to play a matching tile to either end of the layout.

5. The winner is the first player to get rid of all their tiles and scores the total of all the other players spots on their tiles. If no one can place all their tiles down, the winner is the player with the lowest number of spots in their hand. They score the difference between their total and each opponent's total. The overall winner is the first player to reach an agreed score of 50 or 100 points.


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