Dominoes: One Set, Countless Games

Almost every culture around the world has its own version of dominoes. Whether you’re playing with European-style ivory pieces or a cheap plastic set from the gas station, dominoes is one of the most flexible and popular games of all time. The versatility of these well-known tiles means that you’ll never run out of different variations to try, and they’re small enough to travel with you anywhere in the world.

History Of Dominoes

Dominoes were first mentioned during the Song dynasty in China sometime in the 13th century, although modern dominoes didn’t first appear until the 18th century in Italy. Dominos were most likely named after the black and white hooded costumes worn during the Venetian Carnival, which makes sense due to the black and white coloring of the tiles.

Domino tiles are twice as long as they are wide, usually with a line in the middle dividing them into two. Dominoes are also marked on either side with a certain number of spots, usually anywhere between zero to six. A basic set of dominoes is called a double six set, and comes with 28 tiles, although larger sets are available for more intricate domino games.

Crafting The Domino

The novelty of dominoes comes from the different materials historically used to make the tiles. Dominoes can be made from ivory, stone, metal, or even blown glass or crystal. If you’ve ever picked up a traditional pack of dominoes, however, they’re most likely made of synthetic plastics. For as many different dominoes there are in the world, there are just as many kinds of games that you can play using these versatile tiles.

Blocking Games Vs. Scoring Games

Domino games usually fall into one of two categories: blocking games and scoring games. Blocking games require you to get rid of the tiles in your hand while stopping your opponent from emptying their own hand. Draw dominoes is the most classic blocking game, which involves two players each drawing seven tiles at random to play. Players will then lay their tiles down in a line, matching the number of spots on the ends of tiles with the next tile played.

By the end of the blocking game, the winner is the person who’s gotten rid of all of their tiles. If the game ends with neither player able to get rid of all of their tiles, then the winner is the person with the fewest tiles in their hand.

Scoring games will earn players points for making specific moves, but usually follow some variation of the standard Draw game. While Draw dominoes is the most simple domino game, there are infinitely more variations that make dominoes that much more intricate. Block dominoes allows you to pass your turn if you don’t have a playable tile, which lets you play with up to four players at once in a much more cut-throat game.

Fives Family

The Fives Family is a series of traditional dominoes games that requires you to make the ends of the tiles match up to a multiple of five in order to score. This allows for a much more natural flow, as you can make way more connections and earn points in sneakier ways. Five-up is one of the most popular Fives Family domino games, introducing the concept of “spinners” that split the game board into four different sides.

Laying Down The Line With Dominoes

Dominoes are some of the most versatile playing pieces in the world, allowing you to play countless games that are as simple or as complex as you like. Whether you’re playing a one-on-one draw game or playing Five-up with 10 players, you can easily bust out a set of dominoes for a quick game. Playing time also depends on the type of domino game you play, although it usually lasts around 30 minutes.

Dominoes are also suitable for ages 5 and up, so simple versions of the game can help younger kids adjust to the rules before moving on to more advanced rules. When it comes to dominoes, it doesn’t matter how old you are or where you live—everyone can enjoy the abstract strategy of these chunky little tiles!

Make time for some fun today!

A Whole New World: The Settlers of Catan

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be Christopher Columbus and discover a new land full of untapped potential?  While there may not be much of the Earth we have yet to discover, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the experience of the early settlers.  If you’re an explorer at heart, you’ll love the exciting setup of Catan, a board game that pits players against each other in the race to build a lasting society.  

Formerly known as The Settlers of Catan, this board game uses dice, cards, and strategy to provide you with up to two hours of fun.  The game begins with your ship washing ashore a brand new land, brimming with unspoiled possibility.  But not so fast—you’re not the only one to land on Catan’s shores!  Several other seafarers have arrived at the same time with the exact same desire to colonize.  You’ll have to battle the other players in order to gain dominance and win the game.

 

Building Settlements

Catan uses a game board that is set up with hexagonal terrain tiles.  Each player begins their settlement with two small houses on the spaces where three of these terrain hexes meet.  Then, by rolling the dice, players accumulate different resources and barter with each other in order to turn their settlement into a prosperous city.  The more settlements and cities you build, the more victory points you accumulate.  Once you reach 10 victory points, you are officially the winner of Catan.

But how do you go about bartering resources and building settlements?  This is where Catan gets interesting.  Strategy is a huge part of the game as you trade your resources at ports and with other players to give away what you have too much of in order to collect what you need.  But be sure to trade smartly, as you don’t want to give away something that will give the other player the upper hand.  Sometimes theft is necessary, as rolling a 7 on the dice can allow you to steal the resource card you need from other players.

Catan Expansion Packs

Catan has been around for decades, as it was originally released in 1995.  Catan is suitable for ages 10 and up, and gameplay usually lasts between one and two hours.  While the base game serves 3-4 players, the extension allows you to incorporate 5-6 players.  With so many people vying to win, you can fill an entire evening with a game of Catan!

Catan also comes with several expansion packs, which allows you to enjoy a whole new chapter.  The Seafarers expansion adds ships that serve as roads over the water, allowing you to explore the sea and settle on an uninhabited archipelago of islands.  In addition to ships, the Seafarers expansion also includes pirates, which will steal resources from ships and even prevent them from being built in the first place.

Catan: Cities and Knights adds new Knights that can be used to attack other players as well as defend Catan from barbarian invaders.  These barbarian invaders will occasionally attack Catan, forcing the warring settlements to work together to fend them off and continue the game.  This expansion also includes additional resources to be produced and traded, which include paper, cloth, and coin.  Catan: Cities and Knights can be combined with the Seafarers expansion for an even more complex game.

Build A New World With Catan

Catan is arguably one of the most popular board games ever invented, with countless spin-offs, film/television adaptations, and even tournaments.  Its popularity is likely due to the fact that this game appeals to almost everyone.  Whether you’re a family looking for a casual game to add into the mix or you’re a hard-core gamer looking to relive the nostalgia of a classic, Catan has something for everyone.

While the base game is simple enough for children to enjoy, it’s the expansions that really make Catan a versatile game.  You won’t ever get bored of Catan, and no collection of board games will ever be complete without this classic multiplayer board game.  Indulge your imagination and get in touch with your inner settler with Catan!

 

How to Play Catan

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