Help me put a six-love 'pon de table
May 4, 2006 7:38 AM   Subscribe

How can I get better at dominoes?

Three coworkers and I have started playing dominoes at lunchtime every day. We're all at a decent skill level but I'd like to take it to the next level. We play a simple block game (no boneyard) with "six-love" scoring (the game ends when someone gets 6 and someone else has 0) and only two ends of the "train" (no branching off on a double). I've found there to be no good information online about advanced dominoes strategy. It feels like a game where you learn by playing it a lot, and we have. Yet there are a lot of situations where we make terrible gaffes and foul the whole thing up. Any strategy tips or resources?
posted by Succa to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
The only information I could find was at wikipedia, and boardgamegeek, but none of them had in-depth information on strategy, although asking at the latter two sources will get you some good responses. The boardgamegeekerettes will probably suggest 300 other games with more depth to boot.
posted by craniac at 8:33 AM on May 4, 2006

I'm not too familiar with a wide variety of domino games, so I'm not sure how close the game you're describing is like the game I'm thinking of, but I tried developing a good formal strategy for domino games my friends called things like "Runaway Train" or "Penny on the Nine" years ago and it turns out to be a fairly hard problem. It's not unlike trying to solve the travelling salesman problem, except with no guarantee that you can complete a circuit of any given traversal path you choose to take.

As near as I can tell, the best thing to do is to come up with some way of arranging your dominos so that they're all layed out with like numbers adjacent to each other. This helps you see as many different possible circuits through your own set of dominos as possible. If you can see a circuit taking you through all of them, you're set. If you can't, you pick the longest circuit you can make, or if points matter, the circuit that involves traveling through the dominos with the highest point value.
posted by weston at 9:41 AM on May 4, 2006

To "take it to the next level", I would recommend playing All Fives, it's a fast moving game but involves a lot more in the way of scoring. Five Up is my favorite variation.
posted by modofo at 11:45 AM on May 4, 2006

It's been a while since I read it, but Nymphomation has a huge domino thing going. You might get some ideas from that. You know, if you're also looking for a book to read.

Some may say you need to read Vurt and Pollen (also ny Noon) first, but that's probably not necessary.
posted by sevenless at 1:48 PM on May 4, 2006

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