Domino games

Divide and Conquer

This is an adaption of a card game designed by Claude Soucie and it was reported in CARD GAMES AROUND THE WORLD by Sid Sackson (Dover Books, 1981, ISBN 0-486-28100-0). It is a game of bluff and psychology in which both players know exactly what tiles the other player has in his hand. Since both players swap hands and play a second round, their is no advantage in the luck of the deal, either.


The game uses ten tiles drawn from any domino set. They have to total to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12. Totals are used in this game, not suits.

The Deal

Each player draws five tiles.

The Play

Each player pushes one of his tiles face down in front of himself. When both have chosen a tile, their faces are exposed. The highest tile wins unless the lowest tile is an exact divisor of the highest tile or unless the lowest tile is exactly one less than the highest tile.

When all five tiles have been exposed, the players calculate their scores and exchange hands. In this round the players hide the tiles from their opponent and then expose them in the same manner has the first round.


As each tile is exposed, it is turned either sideways toward the player to show that tile was a loser or lengthwise toward the player if it won. The player scores one point for each winner for the round. The total score for both rounds must be at least six points to win; if both players get five points, the hand is a tie.

Comments & Strategy

A variation of this game uses fourteen tiles drawn from the double nine (or larger) domino set. The tiles must have totals of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 18. The game is played the same way, but the hands are seven tiles each and you must score over 7 points to win a hand.

Another game similar to this was marketed in Germany by Frank & Doris under the names PICO and PICO II. PICO was the original version, and PICO II is the current version. In their game, the deck has 11 cards. The face of the cards has a number and one to four red dots. The extra card is exposed to both players, but is not used by either of them. The rule for winning a trick is that the higher card wins, but only if it is not twice as high as the lower card. The losing card is returned to the player's hand and can be reused. Scoring is based on the number of red dots which appear under the numbers on the face of the playing cards. Doris & Frank have a Java applet on their website which play PICO II with you when you log on.