top of page

Official Fives and Threes Dominoes Rules

Fives and Threes, also known as "Muggins," is a popular variant of dominoes where players score points by making the open ends of the layout add up to multiples of five or three. Here are the detailed rules:

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players can join the Fives and Threes challenge.

Objective: Score the most points throughout the game by strategically placing your dominoes to create specific combinations on the domino chain and eliminate your dominoes first.

Components:

  • Double-six domino set (28 dominoes)

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

Setup:

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

  2. Deal the Dominoes: Depending on the number of players, draw a specific number of dominoes face down to each player:

    • 2 Players: Draw 9 dominoes each.

    • 3-4 Players: Draw 6 dominoes each.

Gameplay:

Fives and Threes is played in rounds, with players taking turns placing their dominoes and aiming to score points based on specific combinations formed on the domino chain:

1. Round Start:

  • The player with the highest double domino (double-six, double-five, and so on) starts the game by placing it face up in the center of the table. This domino establishes the starting point for the domino chain.

2. Taking Turns:

  • Players take turns in a clockwise direction.

3. Playing a Domino:

  • On your turn, you must try to play a domino from your hand that matches (same number of pips) one of the open ends (either side) of the domino chain already on the table.

4. Scoring:

  • The key element in Fives and Threes is scoring points. Whenever you play a domino that creates a specific combination at the open ends of the chain (considering both sides of the domino you just played), you score points! Here's the breakdown:

    • Three: If the total number of pips on the open ends of the chain adds up to three, you score 1 point. (e.g., You play a 2-5 domino on a chain ending in 1, making a total of 3).

    • Five: If the total number of pips on the open ends of the chain adds up to five, you score 1 point. (e.g., You play a 0-5 domino on a chain ending in 0, making a total of 5).

    • Multiples: You can score multiple points in a single turn if both ends of your domino create a scoring combination (e.g., You play a 3-2 domino on a chain ending in 4, creating both a three and a five, scoring 2 points).

5. Drawing Dominoes (if needed):

  • If you cannot play a domino from your hand on your turn because you don't have a matching end, you must draw one domino face down from the remaining deck (pile of unplayed dominoes).

  • If the deck is empty and you still can't play, you simply skip your turn.

6. End of Round:

  • A round ends when one player gets rid of all their dominoes.

7. Scoring the Round:

  • After a round ends, players who still have dominoes remaining in their hand add up the pip values on all their dominoes. This sum becomes their negative points for that round.

Winning the Game:

  • The game typically continues for a predetermined number of rounds (often 5, 7, or 11 rounds).

  • The player with the highest total score (most points) at the end of all rounds wins the game and is crowned the Fives and Threes Domino Master!

Variations:

  • Doubles as Spinners:  In some variations, all double dominoes are placed perpendicular to the chain and act as "spinners." This allows players to play on either open side of the double domino during subsequent turns.

  • First Domino Score:  A variation allows the starting player to score points based on the opening domino they placed (if it creates a three or five).

Tips and Strategies:

  • Plan Your Plays: Look ahead at your dominoes and try to plan which ones you can play to create scoring opportunities by forming threes and fives at the open ends of the chain.

  • Prioritize Scoring: While getting rid of your dominoes is the ultimate goal, prioritize playing dominoes that create scoring opportunities to maximize your points throughout the game.

  • Watch the Chain: Keep an eye on the domino chain, remembering the open ends and what totals are needed for threes and fives.

Fives and Threes is a strategic and engaging variant of dominoes that requires careful planning and a bit of luck. Scoring by multiples of five and three adds an extra layer of challenge to the traditional domino game.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.

Browse Related Games!

bottom of page