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Break Out the Dominoes to Build a Pyramid, Lay Down Metro Lines, and Wins Tricks

by W. Eric Martin

• To follow up on yesterday’s post about tile-laying games, let’s kick off today’s post with coverage of Pyramido from Ikhwan Kwon and Synapses Games, a tile-laying game for 2-4 players in which you will construct a pyramid from dominoes. We have only a cover image at the moment, so you’ll have to imagine the action from this description:

The great Pharaoh Mino has passed, and rule passes to his eldest son: Pharoah Mido. Displeased with the plain appearance of the pyramid in which his father was buried, Mido turns his attention to his own legacy. He wishes for his own resting place to better reflect his majesty and has decreed that 2-4 architects build pyramids encrusted with jewels: a pyramido. The architect who builds the most impressive pyramido will be appointed Vizier and enjoy wealth and power beyond imagination.

Pyramido is a tile-placement game in which each stage of the pyramid creates connections between them. Players take turns choosing from the available dominoes to create their pyramid. To maximize their points, players must match the jewel icons on the dominoes and place their markers of the same colors to activate the scoring areas. Each choice of domino and its positioning has a significant impact since the previous stages influence the score throughout the game.

• In 2022, Finnish publisher Tactic released a new twist on standard block dominoes under the name Metro Domino, with four city editions on the market: Paris, London, New York, and Storstad Sverige.

Here’s how to play this game, which will have the New York edition released in the U.S. in early 2023:

In Metro Domino, you use domino tiles to build metro lines across the city.

Each player starts with nine dominoes from a double-nine set, and one random domino is placed in the central starting station. On a turn, you can draw a domino from the boneyard (i.e., the supply of dominoes) or place a domino at the end of an active line as long as you can match the number at the end of the line; the starting station can have two lines built off of the starting domino. If you place a double domino, take another turn immediately.

The starting station indicates that five dominoes must be placed in a line before a new station is opened. If you place the fifth domino in a line, draw a random station from the deck, then place it at the end of the line and mark it with one of your tokens. Each station has two lines off of it, with a starting domino half on each line and a length the line must reach before a new station is built on that line.

Players continue to take turns until either one player has emptied their hand of dominoes or the fifth station has been put into play. At the time, players score, earning 1 point for each station they started and losing 1 point for each domino still in hand.

Each city edition of Metro Domino appears to have identical gameplay, but with differing station lengths and values.

• In 2022, Haggis designer Sean Ross released rules online for eight new games, five of them being domino-based games, with four of those involving either trick-taking or ladder-climbing.

Clackerjack, for example, is a climbing game played in teams of two with two sets of double-six dominoes. The two sides of a domino count as suit and rank — with blanks being wild — and you can rotate dominoes as you wish to play singles, steps (e.g., 5-2 & 5-3), identical pairs, runs, and identical triplets. When you lead, another player can beat your play only with a combination of the same type that’s valued higher or that’s a bomb of the same level or higher. (Bombs are comprised of double tiles, and once a bomb has been played, it can be beaten only by a higher-valued bomb.) You can also play with only two players.

Daiquiri plays similar to Clackerjack, except that the game is for 3-4 individual players and is played with 3-4 sets of double-six dominoes, with each player taking a double-blank (which is wild) and 21 other random dominoes. Thanks to the larger hand size and duplicate dominoes, combinations can contain up to six dominoes. With four players, the first three players to empty their hand score 3, 2, and 1 point, with multiple rounds until someone has scored 6 points.

Fiddich plays similar to the previous two games, but is strictly for competing teams of two players, with player getting a set of seven blanks to comprise their public “glen” along with 21 other random tiles from four double-six sets to comprise their private hand. Only the team of the player who voids their hand first scores, with points being determined by when the remaining teammate voids their hand.

Unlike the previous designs, Skellington is a trick-taking game played with two double-six sets, with one set of blank/1-6 tiles being removed and the other laid out at random to show the strength of the suits, as demonstrated in the image at left.

In a four-player game, everyone gets eleven random dominoes, and they compete in teams of two. Someone leads to a trick, and each other player can play what they like. Whoever played the highest suited domino wins the trick, with rank breaking ties within a suit, although the double of a suit is considered the highest-valued domino within that suit. Whichever suit won the trick is then moved to the rightmost side of the strength chart, and the player who won the trick leads.

Dominoes are worth points equal to the difference between their two sides, e.g. a 6-1 is worth 5 points, and whichever team has captured the majority of the domino points wins 1-4 victory points, with a team needing 4+ victory points over one or more rounds to win the game.

Finally, Sundae is a two-player game from Ross and co-designer Carol LaGrow that plays along the lines of Reiner Knizia’s Schotten Totten, with players having a hand of six dominoes from a double-nine set (or five from a double-six set) and alternating turns to play a “scoop” of ice cream next to one of seven customers. If after serving the third (or second) scoop to a customer you can prove that the opponent can’t offer a better dish, you claim that customer. Whoever claims four customers wins.

Rules for all five of these designs — as well as Ross’ three other 2022 designs: Bacon, Cowbell, and Hotdog — can be found in the forum of their respective BGG page.

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