The matador game

Matador is one of the less well known domino games. It provides a good arithmatic excercise for children ages 6.

Number of players
The game is for 2 to 4 players.

about 10 minutes

One domino game with stones 0-6.

Object of the game
To be the first player to domino (= to play your last bone).

The deal

  1. All bones are shuffled face down.
  2. Every player draws one bone. The player with the highest domino will be the first player. The drawn stones are returned and all bones are mixed again.
  3. Each player receives 9 bones minus the number of players. Thus, with 2 players, each player receives 9-2=7 bones. (According to some authors: all bones are distributed equally among the players)
  4. The remaining bones are left in the middle and make up the stock, also called boneyard.
  5. Every player puts his bones on one edge so that only he can view them.
  6. The first player puts one of his bones in the middle. This first bone does not need to be a double. The turn then rotates to his left.
The rules
  1. All bones played must be played to a free end,
  2. Adjacent sides should not bear the same number, but total 7 instead. Example: The first player plays a 5-1, the next player adds a 6-3, giving: 5-16-3.
  3. The layout always has two open ends, each sprouting from one of the long side of the starting bone.
  4. There are four matadors: 6-15-24-3 and 0-0.
  5. A matador may always be played, they match every value.
  6. Only matadors are placed crosswise (as usually doubles are). After a matador, the line continues normally.
  7. Depending on how was dealt, if all bones have been distributed equally among the players: If a player can not legally play a bone, he must pass his turn. No bones are drawn from the boneyard.
  8. If not all bones have been dealt at game start: If a player cannot play, he must draw from stock untill he draws a bone which he can play.
  9. If stock is exhausted and he still can not play, he must pass his turn.
The end
The game ends when one player goes domino (plays his last bone) or when all players have consecutively passed. The player who dominoes first wins the game. Or, if everyone passed, the player with the least number of spots wins.

Small variations
Hoyles rules of games suggests to make the number of bones dealt initially as 7 bones for 2 players and 5 bones for 3 or 4 players.

There is not a lot you can do in a simple game like this, but rough basic guidelines are:

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