OBJECTIVE OF K’AP TÁI SHAP: The objective of K’ap Tái Shap is to be the first player to complete a legal hand.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 20 Players

MATERIALS: 1 to 8 Chinese Domino sets, chips, and a flat play area.

TYPE OF GAME: Rummy Domino Game



K’ap Tái Shap is a rummy-style domino game for 2 to 20 players. The goal of the game is to be the first player to complete a legal hand.

A legal hand consist of an identical pair of tiles from either the military or legal domino sets, as well as four additional pairs of cards whose sum of pips, equals 10 or 20. (The legal pairings are described below)

The game is played traditionally as a bidding game where everyone antes and the winner takes the pot.


A number of sets should be used so that all players get nine (the first player gets 10) tiles and there are still plenty of tiles so that a player could complete their hand without the stock running out. The first player is determined randomly in each game. Before drawing tiles each player antes into the pot.

To deal there are two options the traditional way is to build a domino wall. The easier and more western accessible way is a standard boneyard.

To play with a wall, all the dominos are shuffled and stacked 5 high in a line. The first two are left with five tiles each and then alternating one tile is taken from the stack and added to the end of the wall. This is done a number of times equal to the number of players minus one.

Once the wall is built players, starting with the first player will draw tiles from the start of the wall. This should leave the dealer with 10 tiles, and the remaining players with 9.

To use the boneyard method. All tiles are shuffled and placed face down in the center of the table. The first player draws first getting 10 tiles and the remaining players, in turn, draw their nine.

Tile Pairings

The legal tile pairings must have pips that equal 10 or 20. There is a special tile, the 4/2 that is considered not to have 6 pips but only 3.

The legal pairings for 20 pips are: (6/6 and 6/2), (6/6 and 5/3), (6/6 and 4/4), (6/4 and 6/4), and (5/5 and 5/5).

The legal pairings for 10 pips are: (6/2 and 1/1), (6/1 and 2/1), (6/1 and 4/2), (5/3 and 1/1), (5/2 and 2/1), (5/2 and 1/2), (5/2 and 4/2), (5/1 and 3/1), (5/1 and 2/2), (4/4 and 1/1), (4/3 and 2/1), (4/3 and 4/2), (4/1 and 3/2), (4/1 and 4/1), (3/3 and 3/1), (3/3 and 2/2), and (3/2 and 3/2).


After receiving their hands the first player starts the game. If the first player was dealt a winning hand, they may immediately declare it and win. If not then they will choose one tile to remove from their hand and place face up on the table.

On a player’s turn, they may choose to take any of the face-up tiles from the table. If this tile completes their hand they may declare a win. If it does not, they must exchange it with one of their hand. They must also draw a tile from the wall or boneyard. if it completes their hand they can declare a win, otherwise, they must discard one card from their hand face up to the table.


The game ends once a player declares a winning hand. This player wins the pot.

Amber Crook
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