Cross Dominoes

OBJECTIVE OF CROSS DOMINOES: Be the first player to score 100 points




AUDIENCE: Kids to adult


Cross makes an interesting change to the classic Draw domino game.  The first double that is played is a spinner meaning players place a domino on all four sides.  What’s unique about this game is that players are required to play on all four sides of the first double.  Doing this forms a cross (just like the name of the game).  No one is allowed to build beyond the cross until it is completed.


Place all of the dominoes face down on the playing space.  Give them a good shuffle.  Players take turns drawing one domino at a time until they have the required amount in their hand.  For a two player game, each player should have seven dominoes.  For a three or four player game, each player should have five dominoes.

The rest of the dominoes form the boneyard.  They are placed to the side and used as a draw pile. 


The player who has the highest double goes first.  Play begins with that player placing that double.  This first double is called a spinner, and players must attempt to lay a domino on all four sides of the spinner before building on to its branches.  When this objective has been completed, the dominoes will form the shape of a cross.  

For example, if the first player lays the double six, and the second player lays the six/five on it, no one is allowed to play on that six/five until the cross has been completed.  

If a player is unable to play on the beginning spinner, they must choose a tile from the boneyard.  If that domino can be added to the double, it must be played.  If it cannot, the player passes their turn.

Once the cross has been formed, players can start building onto the branches.  From this point on, any doubles played are not spinners.  Branches are formed in straight lines from the center double.  Players either play or draw from the boneyard.  Once the boneyard has two dominoes left, players can no longer draw.  Play continues like this until the end of the round. 

A round can end in two ways.  If a player plays their final domino, the round is immediately over, and that player is the winner.  If the game becomes blocked and no one is able draw or make a play, the round is over, and the player with the lowest domino pip total is the winner.  


If a player is out of dominoes and wins the round, they earn points equal to the total value of the remaining players’ dominoes.

If a game becomes blocked, the player with the lowest total domino value wins the round.  They earn points equal to the difference between their domino value and the total value of the remaining players’ dominoes.  For example, the winner has 13 points, and their opponents have a combined total of 30 points, the winning player gets 17 points for the round.

Continue playing rounds until a player reaches 100 points.  The first player to reach 100 points wins the game.

Mark Ball
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