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Official Domino Whist Rules

Domino Whist is a fun and engaging trick-taking game that combines elements of dominoes and whist, offering a unique challenge for players. Here's a breakdown of the essential rules:

Number of Players:  Typically played with 4 players in partnerships of two (like regular Whist).

Objective: Work together with your partner to win more tricks (or score fewer points) than the opposing team by strategically playing your dominoes and accumulating points based on unplayed dominoes at the end of the hand.

Components:

  • Double-six domino set (28 dominoes)

  • Scoring system (pen and paper or dedicated scoring sheet) - optional

Setup:

  1. Shuffle the Dominoes: Mix all the dominoes face down on the table.

  2. Deal the Dominoes: Deal seven dominoes face down to each player.

Gameplay:

Domino Whist follows a trick-taking structure with a twist introduced by the dominoes:

1. Round Start:

  • The player to the dealer's right leads the first trick by playing any domino face up from their hand.

2. Playing a Domino:

  • Each player takes turns clockwise, and must play a domino from their hand if possible.

  • The domino played must have at least one end (double-sided tile) match the number of pips on one of the open ends (either side) of the domino led.

3. Winning the Trick:

  • The highest double (total pips on both sides) played on the trick wins the trick.

  • If no doubles are played, the highest single end (most pips on one side) played wins the trick.

4. Taking Tricks:

  • The winner of each trick collects all the played dominoes and leads the next trick.

5. End of Hand:

  • The hand ends when all players have played all their dominoes.

Scoring:

  • Unlike Solo Whist where you try to win tricks, in Domino Whist, you want to avoid having high-scoring dominoes remaining in your hand at the end.

  • Unplayed Dominoes: After all tricks are played, each player reveals their remaining dominoes. Players score penalty points based on the sum of the pips on all the unplayed dominoes in their hand.

  • For example, if a player has a domino with 3-5 remaining, they score 8 points (3 + 5).

Winning the Game:

  • Domino Whist is typically played for a set number of hands (often 3, 5, or 7). The team with the lowest total score (least penalty points) at the end of all hands wins the game!

Variations:

  • Bidding: Some variations involve a bidding phase before the hand begins, where teams can bid on how few points they think they will score, adding another layer of strategy.

  • Scoring Cap:  A maximum score limit can be set (e.g., 100 points). The first team to reach or exceed the limit loses the game.

Tips and Strategies:

  • Track Played Dominoes: Try to remember which dominoes have been played throughout the hand to make informed decisions about what dominoes to play.

  • Communicate (in Teams): In partnership games, use subtle communication through facial expressions or pre-arranged signals to indicate domino strength and potential winning tricks.

  • Work Together: Strategize with your partner to minimize the total points you score together at the end of the hand.

  • Prioritize Low Dominoes: Aim to play your high-scoring dominoes early to avoid being stuck with them at the end.

Domino Whist offers a unique blend of domino tile-matching and trick-taking, making it a fun and strategic game for players of all experience levels. So grab a set of dominoes, find some partners, and see who can master the art of Domino Whist!

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