Number of Players: 2 to 4
Type of Dominoes Used: Any Domino
Type of Game: Blocking Game
A.K.A. - Blind Hughie, Secret Dominoes, Blind-Man Block, and Billiton.
It's obvious why the game goes by the names of Blind or Secret Dominoes: Players don't know what tiles they hold in their hand and are unable to choose their play. But what about the name Billiton? The word is the anglicized spelling of Belitung, an island off the former Dutch colony of Sumatra, so maybe this game was a pastime of the Dutch colonists or was an Oriental import.
What's unique: A player doesn't see his hand until he plays it.
Number of dominoes drawn: 2 players, draw 14; 3 players, draw 9; 4 players, draw 7. The entire deck is drawn, except with 3 players, when the one undrawn tile is set.
Set: Draw lots to determine who makes the first play.
How to play: Each player draws his tiles from the boneyard without looking at the face of the domino. Keeping the tiles facedown on the table, each player arranges his tiles 1) in a vertical row, long side to long side, playing his tiles one at a time from the top of his row or from the bottom of his row; or 2) in a horizontal row, long side to long side, playing tiles from his row in any order he chooses. Players should decide at the beginning of the game whether to they want to play from top to bottom, bottom to top, or in any order the players choose.
Let's say the players have decided to play from top to bottom, and Mark is the first player. Mark turns over his first tile, the tile on the top of his vertical row. Then he turns over a second tile, the next tile in his row. If he is able to play his second tile on his first tile by matching suits, he does so. He continues to turn over tiles as long as he is able to make a play. And, if he turns over a tile that can be played on more than one end of the line of play, he may turn over and look at the next tile in his row before choosing where to play his domino. If he turns over a tile that he is unable to play, he places it facedown at the bottom of his row. If the tile Mark turned over and was unable to play happens to be a double, he places it faceup at the bottom of his row. Then, play continues with the next player, the one at Mark's left.
Number of Dominoes Drawn Variation: 2 players, draw 8; 3 players, draw 7; 4 players, draw 6. Remaining tiles are discarded.
Play Variations: 1) During his turn, a player may choose to play any exposed double in his row. 2) A player's turn does not continue as long as he can make a play. Instead, a player is only allowed to turn over one tile per turn. 3) If playing the variation of turning over any tile of your choosing from your row (as opposed to playing from top to bottom or from bottom to top), when an unplayable tile is exposed during your turn, that tile is turned facedown and placed on the left end of your horizontal row.
*There are no spinners. (Variation: Only the first double played is a spinner.)
* Game ends when one player dominoes or when the game is blocked.
Tip: If playing the variation of turning over any tile of your choosing from your row (as opposed to playing from top to bottom or from bottom to top), it is certainly a help to the player's game if he can remember the position of the previously exposed tiles and therefore be able to turn them over during his turn when there is an open end in the line of play with a matching suit to the tile in his hand.
Reprinted with permission of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., NY, NY from GREAT BOOK OF DOMINO GAMES by Jennifer Kelley, ©1999 by Jennifer Kelley. (The Sterling book is available as PUREMCO'S GREAT BOOK OF DOMINO GAMES)