Introduction: How to Play Dominoes: High Five

About: I am a professional voice over artist and I am terrible at DIY.

Today I'm going to teach you a simple, fun, and addictive way to play the a game of dominoes.

this is a modified version that even your 12 year old nephew could learn. i once taught an 8 year old how to play this on a layover from a flight and when my boarding had been called he had crushed me two games straight.

I cried like a baby all the way to Philadelphia. He probably went on to dominate the 4th grade.

Step 1: Understanding the "bones"

dominoes are commonly called bones... but if it's like 800 years ago and you don't have plastic or a skill saw, what else are you going to use?

the dots are called pips... and in each set there are 28 bones. high five is played with double six... where the highest valued bone has two sixes on it. that's what we are playing today.

Step 2: The Rules... How Its Played.

the basics you need to understand:

high five...or sometimes called all fives, is a variation where you make multiples of five to score.

these fives are accomplished by adding up what's on the ends. and you keep going until you've reached the goal. this could be 100 for a short game or even 500 to make an afternoon of it.

each player gets 7 bones to begin. you then take turns until someone goes out and start the hand again.

like poker you never show your hand.

unlike poker, you need to be able to add multiples of 5 if you intend to win.

Step 3: THE BONEYARD...?

start by laying each bone face down.

then the bones should be shuffled or "washed". you do this simply by swirling them or shuffling them in a circular motion face down.

Step 4: Deciding Who Goes First.

to decide who plays first each player draws a random bone from the BONEYARD.

the player who draws the highest amount goes this case it was the bone on the left which added up to 11.

then these bones are returned to the BONEYARD... and the bones are washed again.

if you tie on the draw... just keep drawing until you don't.

Step 5: Getting Started

each player then draws 7 bones.

player one who goes first must then play their highest double. if you don't have a double you can play whatever you like...

in this case, player one on the left is forced to play their double six.

when laid...this bone is worth 12 points because you add the open ends. so essentially it's worthless because its not a multiple of 5.

you haven't scored... you've simply rid yourself of one bone.

because the only ends open are sixes... player two is forced to play something with a six.

Step 6: Deciding What to Play

player two has two options with a six... the blank, or the 4.

this is where wits come into play and making decisions.

Step 7: The Scoring Factors

player two chose their 6/4.

thus making the current total on the table 16. nothing is scored as this is not a multiple of 5.

player one throws down their 4/5.

notice that you may only play off the open ends. you cannot lay in the middle of the spine. everything in the middle is worthless to anyone who doesn't know how to count cards.

this makes the total 17.... which, is not a multiple of 5.

player two then follows up with a 6/blank.... causing the first score of the game. a blank and a 5 make 5.

hooray player 2.

this has also caused the double six to become void... and changed its status to "spinner". it can now be branched off of, but it's ends are worthless otherwise.

Step 8: Playing the Spinner

after this the next player contributes to the spine... but then is countered with his opponent playing the spinner.

the 6/5 is laid which causes a "rib" that can be played off the spine.

the value is now 11 as determined by the open ends. notice the dead end of the spinner has no value.

if the next move was a 1/blank from the 1 on the table, the player could score 5.

if they played off the dead end of the spinner and had the opportunity to use a 6/4... the score would be 15. unfortunately that bone is already in the spine.

Step 9: Being Forced to Draw/blocking

the next two plays end up spelling trouble for player two.

the blank/1 is countered with the 5/blank... leaving player two with no options. not having a blank or a 6... they are forced to draw from the BONEYARD.

this can bee utterly painful as evidenced here... but it can also be a great advantage because you end up holding everything.

i once worked my way through a 12 bone draw when my opponent only had two left.. went out.. and won the game. so be careful using the block strategy.

the game simply continues this way until one player reaches the goal. every time a player goes out, wash the bones and begin a new hand.

the player who goes out should also collect 5 for every leftover bone in their opponents hand.

Step 10: Common Questions...

can 3 or 4 people play instead of 2?

yes. either as individuals or team. each player would draw 5 bones and go in order according from highest to lowest draw.

is this kind of like poker?

in a way yes. there's a lot of mental and intellectual strategic skill involved that would even probably make a world series of poker champion sweat. card counting, probability, sacrifice, bluffing, body language... it's all involved. a good bones player is always a few moves ahead, and can usually predict what you're going to play.

you can even get crazy and play double deck... which is adding two sets together.

do you have training videos?

no.. but I'll be inclined to make some if it's requested enough.