Focus on scoring
In opposite to Block or Draw Dominoes games, in Five Up Dominoes you can obtain the points during a play stage, not only in the hand scoring stage. This way it's generally a better strategy to focus on scoring as opposed to being the player to domino. You can lose the round and still score more points than your opponent.
Object of the game
To be the first person to win the agreed-upon number of points (100 - 500). Points may be awarded during the play stage by making the exposed ends of the chain total to a multiple of five (5). The winner at the end of each hand also scores points for all the pips remaining in the other player's hand rounded to the nearest multiple of five.
Five Up Dominoes at Rubl.com is played with a Double Six set, each player starts with seven or (optionaly) with nine bones. All the remaining bones not dealt out before the hand form what is called the Boneyard. If this is the first hand of a game, the player with the highest double starts by playing that bone. In subsequent hands, the winner of the previous hand starts the next game (or optionaly rotated start). When leading in a hand other than the first one in the game, the choice of play may be any tile in the lead player's hand.
TIP: In Five Up, pay attention to your first move. At the start of the game, you have to place the highest double but in subsequent rounds you have more flexibility. If you can place a bone whose pips add up to a multiple of Five, you get points immediately. Example: 5-5 or 6-4
The second player must play a bone which matches either end of the bone lead by the first player. Subsequently, bones are added to either end of the resulting chain. For example, of the first player lead the 5-5 (a good first move, that gives 10 points), the second player might follow with the 5-0 (and gain 10 points, as double 5 scored 10 points). Double tiles, are placed vertically, non-double tiles are placed horizontally, so that double tiles are placed crosswise on the chain.
The first double is a special case. Up to four bones may be laid against this double, known as the spinner, two bones continuing the chain and two more sprouting off the double to form a cross pattern. Further dominoes may be added to the two new sprouts giving players a choice of four playing positions. If a player does not have any tiles which have a number of pips that matches one of the exposed ends of the chain, that player must draw from the boneyard one tile at a time until he/she draws one which may be played. If there are no more tiles left in the boneyard, that player must pass. If a player has at least one tile that matches one of the exposed ends of the chain, that player must play a tile and cannot pass. It is also legal to pass on playing the bones that player already has and draw from the bone yard until the drawing of another bone that can be played.
TIP: Get rid of doubles early. They can be tougher to get rid of at the end of a hand than a bone with two different ends.
Scoring during a play stage
The goal of the game is to score points by forming chains whose ends total up to some multiple of 5 (ie 5, 10, 15, 20, etc). The player who forms such a pattern immediately scores that total. Any double which is exposed sideways on the end of the chain is scored counting both ends of the domino. For example, if one end of the chain has a double six and the other end has a three, the score is 12 for the double six and 3 for the three giving a total of 15 points. Two additional edges of the spinner are not scored separately until the subsequent tile are added to them.
TIP: The quickest way to figure out how to score a multiple of five on a move is to look at the Board Count in the left part of the game table, subtract the end that you're considering appending and add the end you're considering placing.
End of Play
The first player to play all of their bones scores points for the bones remaining in the other players' hands. The total is rounded to the neares multiply of five points.
If play is blocked such that no player may lay a bone, then all players should total their remaining bones. The player with the lowest total scores the total of all other players' bones. Round off to the nearest multiple of five as above. If all scores are less than agreed-upon number of points for the game (100-500), the game continues by playing another hand.
By default, the winner of the hand starts the new hand. With a 'rotated start' domino option selected, the starter of the next hand (also called 'first down') alternates every hand.
With the default options (winner starts and 1st hand forced double), if the game is blocked, then the player with the highest double will start the next hand.
Playing Tips and Strategy
1. Remember about the first move - play a tile worth ten points (5-5 or 4-6) if possible to score early. Otherwise, play a double that gives you control the arms of the layout.
2. When another player draws a tile, you have information as to what was missing in his hand. If he draws one tile and plays it, you know that if you can force the layout to end in the values he was missing, you will force him to draw more tiles.
3. The smaller the total you leave to your opponent, the smaller the total he can make from it. Do not allow you opponent to get 20 or more points in one move.
4. You can play to score, to block or to domino. In the scoring game, you attempt to get the largest score without regard to who dominoes or block. The scoring game is the obvious strategy and it is probably what you will pursue at the start of the game when you do not know the distribution of the tiles.
5. In the blocking game or in playing to domino, you try to force a blocked game with the intent that you will get the lowest negative score or to dominoe. The blocking game is an end game strategy which depends on counting suits to see that there are no tiles outstanding in the suits on the arms of the layout. Playing to dominoe has the advantage of giving you the lead in the following hand, that can be important if you are close to winning the game.