Maltese Cross Domino Review — Another Variant of the Legendary Board Game!

A traditional tile game played in many different cultures around the world. This entry is for Western Dominoes; the standard set being the 28 "Double Six" tiles. Chinese Dominoes use a 32 tileset with different distributions. Dominoes is a family of games using the "Western" style tiles. The standard set of tiles is based on the 21 different combinations made with a roll of two six-sided dice. Seven (7) additional "Blank" combination tiles combine with the 21 to form the standard 28 "Double-Six" set. "Double-Nine" (with 55 tiles) and "Double-Twelve" (with 91 tiles) are also popular ("Double-Fifteen" sets also exist). There are many different games played with Dominoes. The standard game is known as the Block game. Forms of this game are known in many different areas of the world with similar rules. Puerto Rican Dominoes, Latin Dominoes, and Cuban Dominoes are all forms of the Block game.

What Is It About?

Maltese Cross is a member of the Cyprus family played with a double six set. The games take its name from the tableau that resembles a Maltese Cross.

What's unique: The highest double is played as a set. The set domino must be played on both ends and both sides, forming a 5-tile cross, before any other tile can be played. The number of dominoes drawn: For 2 to 4 players, each player draws 7 tiles. If 5 or more are playing, prior to the start of the game players should determine and agree upon the number of tiles each player should draw from the deck. (If 2 players, each draws 7 or 8 tiles; 3 or 4 players, draw 5 or 6 tiles.) If there are any remaining tiles after the draw, they are discarded, not used during that hand because there will be no drawing from the boneyard. Set domino: The player holding the highest double begins to play. After a tile has been set, play continues to the left.

How to play: The highest double is played as a set. The set domino must be played on both ends and both sides, forming a 5-tile cross, before any other tile can be played. If a player is unable to match a tile from his hand with a tile in the layout, the player passes his turn to the player on his left. Each player may play only one tile per turn.

The first player to get rid of all dominoes announces "Domino!" and wins the came. If none of the players can make a play, the game ends in a block. If a game ends in a block, all the players turn the tiles in their hands faceup, count the pips on each tile, and add them together. The player with the lowest total wins the game and earns the points (1 point per pip) of all the tiles left remaining in his opponents' hands. The player who first reaches 100 points or more is the overall winner.

Set Variations: 1) highest double, and in the event no double is drawn, re-shuffle and re-draw; 2) 6-6, and in the event the 6-6 is not drawn, re-shuffle and re-draw. Other rules: The game can be played with no spinners (which seems the most often used rule) or by using the first double as the only spinner of the game. In most places, Maltese Cross is played to 100 points. However, there are many different variations, including to 50, 150, 200, or 101 points.

Is It Good?

Dominoes is a game that can be enjoyed by literally all ages, while at the same time offering a serious challenge when played against serious opponents. Plus, it's really fun to slam the tiles down on the table! If you've written this off because you were in primary school the last time you played it, give it another chance.

Leave a comment