OBJECTIVE OF K’IM SHAP: The objective of K’im Shap is to be the first player to complete a legal hand.


MATERIALS: One Chinese Domino set, chips, and a flat play area.

TYPE OF GAME: Rummy Domino Game



K’im Shap is a rummy-style domino game for 2 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 three 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.

This game is also known as K’ap Shap and Shap Tsai.


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 4 high in 8 stacks. The first player takes the first two stacks for 8 tiles and the other player takes 7 tiles leaving one behind in the wall.

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 8 tiles and the remaining player draws 7.

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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