Like most of you, we own more than one copy of the classic game of Dominos. That doesn’t stop us from buying more at thrift when the game adds a new twist. Over the years we’ve found quite a few variations of the theme. Doublecross is a vintage take on the original and UNO Dominos is one we certainly could not pass on. We even keep a copy of Double Double Dominoes in our collection since it is the only domino-themed game we’ve found which uses an actual board!
During our weekly Goodwill trip, we came across one that was brand new to us. Published by Blue Orange Games in the mid 2000’s, Bendomino comes in a well-made tin box and looked to be almost brand new. It was priced at $2.88, which is a little higher than normal at this store. Because of the unique pieces inside, I was forced to pay up this time.
Bendomino isn’t much different than a regular game of Dominoes. Each player begins the game with a set number of pieces determined by the number of players. These are kept hidden from other players. The rest are placed face-down in the middle of the play area as a draw pile.
Whomever has the highest-valued double domino begins the game by placing it in the center. If no double was drawn at the beginning, the highest valued Bendomino is played instead (six/five, for example). Because of the unique shape of these dominos, matching a number on the board is a little more difficult. Not only do the pips have to match up, the curve of the path must also be able to be played without running into a previously laid tile.
Each Bendomino piece makes up one-third of a circle. It is important to keep the pieces aligned so you can make sure a new piece fits into the path correctly. Players take turns playing one from their personal hand that both matches a pip count on either end of the path and fits correctly. If they don’t have a valid tile to play, they draw a new one from the pool and play it immediately if they can. Their turn is over either way and play passes to the next person on their left.
Either end of the path may be blocked when no matching numbers are left in the game, no matching pieces fit, an end is trapped because it runs into the existing path or if both ends connect. If both ends become blocked, players draw the rest of the tiles in order until the pool is empty.
A round of Bendomino ends when the pool is empty and players cannot play any more pieces, or if a player has no tiles left to play. Everyone tallies up the number of pips on the tiles they have, and the lowest total wins the round. The round winner scores points for all the pips on all opponents’ Bendominoes. The first person to score one hundred points or more wins the game!
It’s an interesting twist on the classic and certainly worth a couple bucks used. If you can’t find a copy at thrift, Bendomino is still available brand new on Amazon for under $15.
What classic game do you have a variation of in your collection?