Spinner is a game played with a special set of double-nine dominoes and an extra eleven wild dominoes called "spinners." The game's objective is, after ten rounds of play, to be the player with the least amount of total points.
Spinner is designed for two to eight players. If only two people are playing, each of you draws 14; if 3 to 8, draw 7 dominoes each, spinners are wild. Any remaining tiles are grouped together as the "boneyard," or draw pile. To begin, the double-nine piece is played or the double-spinner, as substitute. If nobody has the double-nine, then the player who shuffled the dominoes draws from the boneyard. This continues to the left, each player drawing a domino until either the double-nine or double-spinner is found and placed at the center of the table.
Opening the Set
Once the double-nine or double-spinner is played, the next two plays must be a nine or spinner. If a player does not have a domino in her hand to play, that player must draw one tile from the boneyard, which can be played if it is a nine or spinner, or her turn ends.
Any other time a double tile is played, the next three dominoes laid down must be on the double. The pieces placed must also have either a matching pip count or a spinner. If you do not have a playable domino, you must draw from the boneyard and, unless you draw a matching piece, you must pass.
Once the first double domino has been played and the following two plays are completed, the next player lays a piece anywhere on the layout by matching an end domino or playing a spinner. The hand ends when one player places the last domino in his hand. Points are counted, all tiles are then turned over, shuffled by the winning player, and all players draw once again, beginning with the winner of the previous round.
The game continues by starting the next hand with successively lower numbered doubles, or the spinner in substitution. The second hand, then, would begin with double-eights, the next hand with double-sevens, and so on until the last hand of double-zeroes.
Points and Winning
Each hand ends when one player lays down her last piece. Play immediately ends, and all players total the points in their hand. Each pip is counted as one and spinner is worth ten. A tile with 3 dots on one side and 4 on the other would be worth 7 points. A tile with 2 dots and a spinner is worth 12 points. Double spinner is worth 20.
At the end of ten hands, all points earned through the game are tallied and the player with the least amount wins.
For a shorter game, if no one has the opening double, then the next lowest double may be used. If no one has the double-nines, then double-eights may be played instead. If nobody holds the double-eights, then double-sevens, etc.
Chris Mounteer earned a degree in writing, graduating suma cum laude from Arizona State University. In addition to newspaper and journal articles, he has produced several short stories, three for private publications and one for "Fantasy and Science Fiction" magazine.