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Rules for Spinner Dominoes

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Did you ever wonder why some dominoes have spinners? What are they for? Spinners dominoes is a very popular game. We carry spinners sets by popular demand. (Our double six professional spinners set is here). Lots of people love to play. Most people don't actually spin the dominoes, although the spinner lets you do that. 

In some ways, spinners are really a nod to tradition. In the old days, dominoes were made of two parts (ebony and ivory) and a metal pin (the spinner) was put into the domino to hold both ends together. Our two tone set is a nod to that tradition.
Today, people use the spinner to help pivot the domino.


Spinners are typically played with a double six set, but some double 9 sets have spinners. We also sell a travel spinners set. If you'd like to play, here are the rules. These rules assume you are using a double 6 spinners set, which have a total of 28 tiles.

The Deal

Each player receives 8 tiles minus the number of players. This means that:

  • 2 players get six tiles each, leaving a boneyard of 16 tiles.
  • 3 players get six tiles each, leaving a boneyard of 10 tiles.
  • 4 players get five tiles each, leaving a boneyard of 8 tiles.

Two of the tiles in the boneyard are held and not played.

The Play

The player with the lowest double plays first and play continues around the table clockwise. The first double domino is the spinner, which means that people can play off that domino in all directions. There are four ends to the domino, so if a double six, for example, is the starting spinner, up to four sixes can be played off that beginning tile. Players can play doubles as the game progresses, but unlike the beginning spinner, those are only covered once.

A player not able to add onto the train draws new tiles from the boneyard until he can play or until the boneyard is reduced to the two reserved tiles. There is no limit on the size of his hand. If a player can neither play nor draw from the boneyard, he passes his turn.

Play continues until someone runs out of dominoes or no one can play.

Scoring

There are several methods of scoring in spinner dominoes. Here is a simple approach:  The player who starts the game gets two points for their spinner. The person who runs out of dominoes gets two points. If no one runs out of dominoes, then the player with the lowest score gets one point.

Strategy

Doubles are important, so you should hold them as long as possible to get a triple header.

A blocked game can be important, so know and use the particular rules you have agreed upon.

Variations

Just as there are lots of ways to score in spinners, there are lots of variations in the game. For example, some people lead with the highest double, others lead with the lowest. Many people don't let additional tiles be played until all ends of the initial double are covered. Some people only cover the initial double twice.

Happy Playing! 

choo choo!




 

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