Calliope Games is a family run company that was founded in September of 2009 by Jordan and Dawne Weisman, and Ray Wehrs. Collectively, we have been engaged in the gaming industry for over 70 years! Our efforts are supported by our longtime family friend Jay Barnett and our new friend Kristine Steinke.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Double Double Dominoes: A Strategic Spin on the Traditional Game
Playing Double Double Dominoes with my daughter and some friends.
Photo: Jonathan Liu
Overview:Double Double Dominoes is like a hybrid of regular dominoes with Scrabble.
If you can play a domino that covers a scoring space on the board, you
get points — but this game has some other tricks up its sleeves, too.
Players: 2 to 4
Ages: 8 and up
Playing Time: 50 minutes (usually less)
Rating: Excellent Excellent.
Who Will Like It? Double Double Dominoes
is a great family game: it’s simple enough for kids to learn (even kids
younger than 8, I would guess) but can also offer a deeper strategic
game for adults. It’s not a Euro-game with lots of wooden bits and a
strong theme, but it’s a very solid game that can have broad appeal, and
may be a good one to rope in a few non-gamers while you’re at it.
The components are straightforward: the game board, 56 dominoes, and 4
scoring pawns. The board itself is what makes the game: it’s a grid
that has numbered diamonds on some of the squares, and the scoring track
around the border looks like a series of dominoes. The dominoes are
standard-sized bone-colored tiles, and the scoring pawns are small
translucent plastic discs.
Each player starts with a hand of three dominoes, and the rest are
placed face-down in a pile called the boneyard. On each turn, the player
draws one domino from the boneyard and then plays one onto the board.
The first domino has to cover the center of the board, and from then
each domino played must match the end of a domino already on the board,
just as in regular dominoes. There are some specific rules about how
dominoes can and can’t be played — for instance, they cannot be placed
parallel to a line of dominoes, even if they match on both ends, and
they cannot be put into a corner where two other dominoes form an
The scoring comes in when you over up one of the diamonds on the
board, which are numbered from 1 to 5 — the farther they are from the
center of the board, the more points they’re worth. If your domino
covers a diamond, then you score that many points.
If you have a double domino (same number on both ends), then you get
double the point value for playing it — plus, you can play a bonus
domino from your hand as long as it can connect to the double you just
There’s one other way to score points, too. The scoring track is made
up of dominoes, so once you’ve scored some points your pawn will be on a
number between 0 and 6. Whenever any player plays a domino with your number on it, you get 3 points. (If they play a double you still just score 3 points, not 6.)
The game goes to 100 points for a 2 player game, 75 points for a 3 player game, or 50 points for a 4 player game.
I haven’t actually played a lot of dominoes, really. Generally when I
do have a set of dominoes I’ve had more fun trying to set up a chain of
them to knock down rather than actually playing the tile-laying game.
However, the Double Double Dominoes board adds some new
dimensions that I really like. First, because you have to get to the
diamonds to score, you’ll want to play diamonds that lead to that area —
but you also don’t want to make a path to the high-scoring diamonds for
your opponents. That tension makes for some fun moments, particularly
because you don’t know who has a double domino.
What I really love, though, is the scoring track. Since you can get
points on somebody else’s turn, that can affect what other people play.
If you pay attention to what numbers you and your opponents are sitting
on, you can force others to make difficult decisions. For instance, you
could play a tile that makes the 4 or 5 diamond accessible to the next
player — but only if they give you three points. Between that and the
extra move for playing a double domino, I’ve seen scores rapidly shift
in a single turn.
Calliope Games has a planned expansion that will allow you to play up to 6 players, which I think would be a lot of fun, too.
The game isn’t tremendously deep and there isn’t any theme to speak
of, but it’s a game that I think will be easy to play with a wide range
of gamer types (and non-gamers) because it’s so easy to pick up and has a
familiar feel to it. Now, if there were just some way to work zombies
into it …
You can find out more about Double Double Dominoes and purchase it at Calliope’s website, look for it at your local game shop, or order it from Amazon.
Wired: Easy to learn; great for non-gamers; scoring track adds a great twist.
Tired: Won’t satisfy your heavy-strategy cravings.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of this game.