OBJECTIVE OF DOMINO HEARTS: Be the player with the lowest score at the end of the game
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 4 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – A (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Hand shedding
INTRODUCTION OF DOMINO HEARTS
Domino Hearts is a variation of the classic game that places more focus on expediently shedding all of your cards. Along with trying to avoid the heart cards, a player is also trying to be the first to get rid of their cards. Players are dealt a smaller hand and must draw from the draw pile if they cannot follow suit. Collecting heart cards is to be avoided as each heart is worth a point. Players are trying to keep their score as low as possible in order to win the game.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
This game uses a standard 52 card French deck. To determine the first dealer and the scorekeeper for the game, each player should take a card from the deck. The player who drew the lowest card must deal first and keep score for the entire game. From this point on, deal passes to the left each round.
The dealer should collect the cards, shuffle them thoroughly, and deal six cards to each player one at a time. The remaining cards make up the draw pile.
The player on the left side of the dealer goes first. They may choose any non-heart suited card from their hand to play. Hearts cannot be played until certain conditions are met. The chosen card is played face up to the center of the table and begins the first trick. Following players play a card from their hand that matches the suit of the card that was led. If a player cannot follow suit, they must draw from the draw pile until they get a card that can be played. Once the draw pile is depleted, players that cannot follow suit may play any card they wish. The highest card in the suit that was led takes the trick.
Once the draw pile is depleted and a player is unable to follow suit, they may play a heart if they wish. Doing so breaks the suit meaning that hearts can now be played. From this point on, a player may lead with a heart card or play one if they are unable to match the suit that was led.
Once a player runs out of cards in their hand, they are out of the round. Play continues until only one player remains with cards. Once this occurs, the round is over.
A player earns 1 point for each heart card in their possession. The last player with cards also earns points for any hearts in their hand. Play continues until one or more players reaches 31 points.
A player reaching 31 points or more ends the game. At this point, the player with the lowest score is the winner.