Type of Dominoes Used: Special
Type of Game: Special Domino set
David Crump had been in the toy, hobby, and game business for a good many years as a retailer before creating Spoiler. He has also designed credits for several military simulation games. Spoiler was created while driving between his game stores in Dallas, Texas. First, the idea of the hexagon starter piece came to mind. Next, while approaching the tollbooth of the North Dallas Tollway, the "dead end" piece was envisioned. The game also incorporates the "link," or wild card, common in many games. The special doubles play evolved in play testing. Credit for the game's title goes to David's wife, Rosanne. It was her idea to call the piece with both a "link" and a "dead end" a "spoiler" because it spoils an opponent's upcoming play.
Domino set: A special 48-tile set, with "link" and "dead end" tiles, and a hexagon starter piece.
Object of the game: To be the first to earn a score of at least 100 points times the number of players. (For example: if there are 4 players, the winning score is 400 points or more.)
Play: Spoiler is played in rounds. In each round, you try to get rid of all your tiles first. Branch your "doubles" and play an extra domino on each of the doubles in your same turn. Block your opponents' moves with the special "dead end." Use your dominoes with link ends when you are stuck. The quicker you are out of tiles, the more dominoes everyone else will have left in their hand and the larger your score will be.
Mix all the dominoes facedown. The first player is determined by drawing a single domino. The player who draws the highest value domino (see "Scoring" for values) plays first. The first player of each subsequent round rotates one player to the left (clockwise).
For games with 4 to 6 players, the dominoes are dealt out equally to each player. For games of 2 or 3 players, deal 12 tiles per player. In both cases, set aside any remaining tiles.
Play begins with the hexagon placed in the center of the table. The round's first player makes either a normal play or a special play (see "Special Plays") using any side of the hexagon. A normal play is made by placing a domino end to end with a side of the hexagon or any domino that has a matching end. Play continues to the left with each player making a normal play, a special play, or passing. A player without any legal move must pass.
Special plays: A "link" is a domino end with an interlocked chain symbol. This special end will link with any domino end except the "dead end." A domino with only one "link" cannot be used as a "double."
A "double link" can be used as any double and new branches created (see "Doubles").
A "dead end" is a domino end with a brick wall symbol. A dead end will not connect to any other end and blocks further play on the branch. A dead end is played with the other end matched to the branch. There is no "double dead end."
The "spoiler" is a domino that has both a link and a dead end (a link on one end and a dead end on the other end). This special domino allows you to put a stop to play on any branch but is worth 20 points if you're caught with it in your hand at the end of a round.
Doubles: A "double" is a domino with identical ends. A double can be played like any domino by matching it end to end, but it can also be used for "branching," by matching it sideways to a matching end. A double used to branch is first played sideways and then the player has the option, during the same turn, of playing an additional domino on each end of the new branch. These additional dominoes are positioned at 45-degree angles to the double's ends and pointed away from the center hexagon. This is a very advantageous play, particularly if you can play all three dominoes.
A round ends when no player has a legal play, all players pass (whether they have a legal play or not), or when a player "goes out" by playing his last domino.
At the end of each round, a winner is determined and a score for the winner is calculated.
Scoring: If a player is the first player to play the last tile in his hand, he is automatically the winner and wins all the points of all remaining dominoes in his opponents' hands.
If the round ends because all players pass or have no legal plays, then the winner is the player with the lowest point value of dominoes remaining in his hand at the end of the round. In this case, the winner receives the points of all un-played dominoes of the other players less points of his own un-played dominoes.
In the unlikely event that more than one player has the same low score (a tie), then they are co-winners. The points of the un-played dominoes of all other players are totaled and split (rounded up) between the co-winners. Next, they subtract their own points for their final score (minimum score of 1).
The point value of each domino is the number of dots on both ends.
The special dead end and link ends are valued at 10 points each.
Spoiler variations: For a shorter game, play to a winning score of 50 points per player. A normal game of Spoiler plays in about 2 hours, depending on the number of players. The shorter game plays in about an hour.
To play with more players (up to 8 players), combine two sets of Spoiler and play in this way: Each player is dealt 12 tiles with remaining tiles set aside. The winning score is 50 points times the number of players. (For example: If 7 are playing, the winning score is 350 points or more.) You will need a large table.
©1994 by David W. Crump