How to Play Moon Dominoes

By Kate Lee

Moon dominoes is similar to a card game, except that you play it with dominoes instead of cards. Like Texas 42 dominoes, moon dominoes uses tricks and trumps, but it has a much simpler bidding and scoring system, making it more suitable for younger players. To play moon dominoes, you’ll need a set of double six dominoes, which has the double six as the highest domino. If you have a larger domino set, you can simply remove the tiles with higher numbers.

Remove all blanks except the double blank from the domino set. Place the remaining dominoes face down on the table and shuffle them.

Draw seven dominoes and place them on their sides in front of you, so that only you can see them. After all the players draw their dominoes, there will be one domino leftover, called the widow, which you can leave face down on the table.

Take turns bidding or passing, going around the table clockwise. Players must bid a number between four and seven, representing the number of tricks they think they can win. Each bid must be higher than the previous player’s bid, but if a player has already bid seven, the next player may shoot the moon and also bid seven.

Let the highest bidder pick a trump suit (zero through six). This player can pick up the widow domino and replace it with a domino from his or her hand. The highest bidder must then play a trump domino. The rest of the players take turns playing a trump suit if they can, or any domino if they can’t.

Win the trick by playing the domino with the most dots in the trump suit, also called the heaviest trump domino. For example, if 4 is the trump suit and the dominoes played are the 4-4, the 2-4, the 3-4 and the 4-6, the 4-4 domino is the heaviest and wins the trick.

Note who won the trick on the score sheet. Each trick scores one point.

Let the winner of the first trick lead the next trick. He or she names a trump suit, and may play a domino that is the trump suit or a non-trump to start. If the leader plays a non-trump, the other players must either play a domino with the highest number on the non-trump or a trump.

Continue playing the game for seven tricks. If the highest bidder met his or her bid, everyone adds up their total score. If the highest bidder did not met his or her bid, he or she gets zero points and the other players get their own totals plus the bid. If a player shot the moon and won all seven tricks, he or she gets 21 points and wins. If the player did not win all seven tricks, he or she loses 21 points. The player with 21 points wins the game.

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