Saturday, May 29, 2010

Barbados. Slam that Domino

Many know the sport of Barbados as cricket but do you know what the game played most in Barbados is?

One can be very sure that you can find and any time during the day or night a game of dominoes being plaid. Whether in a rum shop, lunchroomat at a picnic or a local lime under the tree you will find a gathering of people sometimes very quiet in concentration or sometimes very animated and theatrical as they slam dominoes onto a board.

I myself have been too many a family lunch where the men gather before or after lunch around tables to play a game or two. I have driven down the road and seen men playing dominoes on board’s balanced on top of old drums and seen them under the trees in great animation slamming the dominoes and shouting in victory as they do a victory dance.

Dominoes (or dominos) generally refers to the collective gaming pieces making up a domino set (sometimes called a deck or pack) or to the subcategory of tile games played with domino pieces. In the area of mathematical tilings and polyominoes, the word domino often refers to any rectangle formed from joining two congruent squares edge to edge. The traditional Sino-European domino set consists of 28 dominoes, colloquially nicknamed bones, cards, tiles, tickets, stones, or spinners. Each domino is a rectangular tile with a line dividing its face into two square ends. Each end is marked with a number of spots (also called pips) or is blank. The backs of the dominoes in a set are indistinguishable, either blank or having some common design. A domino set is a generic gaming device, similar to playing cards or dice, in that a variety of games can be played with a set.

How To Play Dominoes

Shuffling The Dominoes
Before a game or hand begins, the dominoes must be shuffled, so that no one knows the location of any given tile. Typically, the tiles are shuffled by turning them all face-down on the table, then moving them around in a random motion, being careful not to flip over any of the pieces. The collection of shuffled tiles is called the boneyard.

Beginning A Game
Before a game begins, the players have to determine who has the first move. This happens in one of two ways: either each of the players choose a domino at random, with first move going to the player holding the "heavier" domino (these dominoes are returned to the boneyard and reshuffled), or the players draw their allotted number of tiles (which varies according to the game being played), and the holder of the "heaviest" domino goes first.

Drawing Tiles
Once the players begin drawing tiles, they are typically placed on-edge before the players, so that each player can see his own tiles, but none can see the value of other players tiles. Every player can thus see how many tiles remain in the other players hands at all times during gameplay.

Placing The First Tile
Once all the players have drawn their dominoes, the first player (determined either by the drawing of lots, or by who holds the heaviest hand) places the first tile on the table. Typically, this is the double-six. If no one holds the double-six, then the double-five is played, and so on.

Playing Subsequent Tiles
In most domino games, only the "open" ends of a layout are open for play. An end is open when it has no other tile connected to it. Often, a double is placed cross-ways in the layout, straddling the end of the tile that it is connected to. Usually, additional tiles can only be placed agains the long side of a double. However, the rules of some games consider all four sides of a double to be open, allowing dominoes to be connected in all four directions.

For example, in the diagram on the right, the first tile played was the 6-6. At this point, a domino can either be played to the right or left of the 6-6. The second tile placed was a 6-5, to the right of the 6-6. At this point, the open ends are 5 and 6. The third tile played was a 4-6, to the left of the initial tile, producing open ends of 4 and 5. The fourth tile was the 5-5, placed vertically. Again, the open ends are 4 and 5.

At any time, due to space constraints or mere whim, a tile may be connected at a right-angle, creating an "L" in the layout.

Drawing Tiles
As the turn passes from player to player, if someone cannot make a move, they're going to do one of two things, based on the game being played. In "block" games (or if there are no tiles left inthe boneyard), a player must "pass" if he cannot make a move. In a "draw" game, a player can draw a tile from the boneyard. Depending on the game, he can then either play it (if it fits, and if the rules allow), pass (if he cannot play the drawn tile), or continue drawing until he can make a move or the boneyard is empty.

Currently, most rules allow the boneyard to be emptied completely. However, some rules do not allow the last tow tiles in the boneyard to be removed, and at the end of a game, the winner receives the value of the tiles in the boneyard.

Ending A Game
A game ends either when a player plays all his tiles, or when a game is blocked. When a player plays his last time, tradition requires him to say "domino" (when this happens, the other players are said to have been dominoed. A game is blocked when no player is able to add another tile to the layout.

When playing a multi-round game, domino games are typically scored by awarding the number of pips on opposing player's tiles to the winner. Doubles may be counted as one or two (if one, a 6-6 counts as 6; if two, a 6-6 counts as 12), and double-blank may either count as 0 or 14. (These rule variations must be agreed upon before the game begins!) The player who reaches the target score (100, 200, or whatever is agreed on among the players), or the player who amasses the most points is a given number of rounds wins the game.

Please note I am aware that many may say the national game of Barbados is Warri. But how many have ever played Warri? In fact how many today even know what it is. I think if you ask most Barbadians what is the most popular game they will without a pause tell you dominoes.

Provided with the compliments of your friends at Glory Tours. The #1 Provider of Sightseeing Tours in Barbados

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