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as, however, not materially to injure your own, would often be found more expedient than groping all the while, as it were, in the dark.
By carefully looking over your own hand, you may judge pretty correctly as to whether your adversary's is light or heavy.
It is only by taking into account all these and other nice points that a player can possibly be successful.
Having formed an idea of your opponent's hand, you should make it an object to " run out," or play so that he may be blocked, or that he may be obliged to leave both ends open for you to play out.
Having given some instructions to the player who holds the larger number of dominoes, we must now proceed to give a few hints to the lesser hand.
If, holding the lesser hand, you can contrive to play a few moves at first without being blocked, you ought to be pretty sure of winning; because, by that time, your hand will have become so disproportionately small, that your opponent will have some difficulty in preventing you from playing out without blocking himself. This, therefore, must be one of your main objects.
If the game goes pretty equal, bring out your strong suits. Wherever you are short of a particular suit, if you find that many of that number have already been played, you need not fear that your adversary will be able to block you in regard to it, for you will, of course, infer that they are as scarce in his hand as in your own. Endeavour to bring these rules to bear, reserving to your discretion as to whether you should in anywise depart from them, or use such modifications as the contingencies of the moment require.
The Matadore Game.
This is a foreign game, and each player takes only three dominoes. You can only play when your domino, added to the one previously played, would make seven. Those dominoes which themselves make that number are termed "matadores," and may be played at any time, regardless of the numbers played to. The double blank is also a matadore. The matadores, therefore, are four in number, viz., f, 5, %.
The highest domino leads, and if the next player cannot go, he must draw from the heap until he can. He must cease, however, to draw when there are only two dominoes left. He who plays out first wins, and if the game is blocked, he who holds the least number of pips counts those held by his opponent, and scores them to his own game. The number of points constituting the game is subject to agreement: it varies from 20 to 100.
MAx1MS FOR PLAY1NG THE MATADORE GAME.
This game differs widely from any of the other varieties of dominoes. The element of chance is more largely introduced. The player who happens to obtain more matadores than the other is almost certain of winning, provided the parties be pretty evenly balanced in skill and experience.
The blanks are very valuable at this game—the double blank being the most valuable of all the matadores. It is impossible to make a seven against a blank, so that if you hold blanks you may easily block the game and count.
When you have the worst of the game, and indeed at other times as well, guard against your adversary's blanks, and prevent him from making them; which you may do by playing only those dominoes which fit with the blanks already down.
Never play a blank at Oast pose unless you have a matadore or a corresponding blank.
Keep back your double blank till your opponent makes it blanks all; you can then force him to play a matadore, or compel him to draw till he obtains one. It is better to have a mixed hand.
This game is played either by partners or by separate players. If played singly by three or four players, each must draw a domino, and he who draws the highest number of pips but one sits on the left of him who draws the highest, the next highest to the left of the second, and so on. If the game is played by partners, the two lowest are partners and the two highest. The partners must sit opposite to each other. The players must draw afresh at each game, and the stake to be played for, called "the pool," must be placed on the table.
Each player takes five dominoes, and he who holds the highest leads. When one player cannot go, the next in turn plays, and so on. The maxims given in reference to the English game apply equally to this.
The game is scored in the following manner: When one player has played out, the one keeping the score counts the number of pips on each player's remaining dominoes, and puts down the number under each of their names or initials respectively. The same is done if a player cannot go. When the number of any one player reaches 40, 50, or 100, or any limit previously agreed upon, he is out of the game; but he comes in again by what is called "starring." In other words, he must pay over again the amount he originally put into the pool. The method of " starring" is the same as at billiards, from which the game is taken. He who " stars " recommences at the number which the player holds who is in the worst position. Suppose, for example, there were three players—one at 20, one at 40, and the other at 60, 100 being up, the player who "stars" must recommence at 60. He can only "star" once, and that must be at the time he is out. Each player has the option of " starring," except the last two, who must divide the pool, or they may agree to play it out. Still, unless an agreement to play out is made beforehand, the last two must divide.
Instructions For Playing Domino Pool.
When this game is played by separate players, and one becomes greatly ahead, the other three can combine, so as to render his chance of winning uncertain. The necessity of this combination is clear. If he is allowed to win, the competition for that game is over; but if, by combining, the other players can keep him back a little, they obtain for themselves a better chance of success. The player who is ahead will also do his best to throw obstacles in the way of the player in the next best position, as he becomes a dangerous competitor. The two in the worst position will in like manner combine against the two ahead. The necessity for this combination does not arise till the game is somewhat advanced, as at the beginning all the players are on a level; and the relative position of the others is of no moment till the game becomes advanced. It is of very little use for one player to attempt to stop the progress of another who is too far ahead, unless the others combine with him. If, through ignorance or anything else, they continue to play for their own hands, you must do likewise. Although, if you attempted by yourself to stop the player who was ahead of you, you might succeed, that success might be purchased at the risk of your own chance in the game. As in this game you have only five dominoes out of twenty, your power of influencing the game is very much diminished, and there is not quite so much scope for the exercise of your judgment as in other single games where you hold six dominoes out of twelve. Your opponents ars sure to hold some of the remaining numbers in which you are strong; so tfeat the injury you can in other games inflict by having a preponderance of a particular number will be greatly diminished here. Therefore it is scarcely worth your while endeavouring to retard your opponent's game when you have three of a number, unless some of that number have already been played; because if you keep those numbers until you are called upon to play to them, you would do infinitely more towards crippling their game than if you were to lead from them. On the other hand, should you hold more than three of a particular number, do not wait for this chance, but lead it on the first opportunity. If you find that you and one of the other players hold nearly all of a particular number, combine with him, in order to exhaust the hands of the other two. In doing this, you are of course only studying your own interest. It is better to adopt this plan when you have reasons to believe you are already on the safe side. If you hold one or two doubles, with duplicates of either, retain the latter until you first get rid of the doubles; but if you hold three or four duplicates along with a double, play the duplicates at once, as you will be able by your own hand to force the double at any time. If you are short in any particular number, get rid of your heavy dominoes as quickly as possible. In playing off you may lead with a light domino, if you hold one or more of the number; but if not, you must lead a higher domino, in order to diminish the number of pips in your hand. If you hold a heavy hand with high doubles, or a hand which admits of little or no variety, or without any particular preponderance, you must play a safe game, and sustain as little loss as you possibly can under the circumstances. Endeavour to balance the inferiority of your hand by drawing the other players along with you.
When there are only three players left, and one is greatly ahead, while another has starred, it should be the object of the third player to prolong the game as much as possible, as he still has a chance to star.
When two players are in advance, the two behind must avoid embarrassing each other in their combinations against the other two. It is better for them to use their joint efforts against one at a time, as the attack, if concentrated in that way, would be stronger and more effectual. Should one of the advanced players get embarrassed, endeavour to embarrass him still more, for you may be sure his competitor will not assist him.
It will be perfectly understood, however, that in playing with partners, the object of each partner will be to play as much as possible into his partner's hands and to cripple his opponents. If it is your lead and you have a good hand, you must try and win with it, regardless of your partner's position. So, on the other hand, if it is your partner's down, and you have a bad hand, you must be content to sacrifice your own chance in order to increase his. In the partner's game it is generally good play to lead from a strong suit, for as this is a generally understood rule, your partner will accept the hint, and will not fail to "return your lead," or, in other words, to play into your hands as much as possible. If you hold some doubles, with others of the same number, you may—contrary to the single game—play the latter first if it suits your hand, as your partner will be sure to assist in getting out your doubles.
We might continue these directions and hints ad infinitum, but experience, after all, is the best teacher; and—recommending the learner to practise assiduously and play carefully—we dismiss this portion of our subject.
The Whist Game.
This game resembles in some points the game of cards from which it takes its name. It is played by four persons—two partners on each side. The partners, as usual, sit opposite to each other. The whole of the dominoes are taken—seven by each player.
It is best to lead from your strongest suit. By this and such other indications you will enable your partner to form an opinion as to your hand, by which he will be guided very much in his play, and as the game proceeds each must tax his recollection as to who played such and such a domino, and how the game stood at that particular time, so as to form a judgment as to the motive of such play, &c The general instructions given in previous chapters will apply in great measure to this game, particularly those given in reference to the Pool Game.
The Four Game,
In this game, which is played by four persons, each player takes seven dominoes; and he who plays out first, or, if the game becomes blocked, holds the least number of pips, wins the hand, and draws a certain stake from the other three.
Very little in the way of instruction is required in this game. If you.have the pose, you should play out as far as possible, and then endeavour to block the game.
Endeavour to keep your hand even, so as to be ready at any number, or (and in this you must be guided by the nature of your hand) play to keep your strongest suit in hand until those of the same suit held by other players are out. By this means you may oftentimes be able to play out or shut the game, as you find most expedient.
This game is played by four players, each taking seven dominoes. The player holding the double six plays it, and takes the lead. Each player must play a six to it. He who cannot loses the turn. The dominoes are played in the form of a cross the first round, after which the players alternately play at either of the four ends. He who has the last domino, or in the event of more than one player being left with dominoes when the game is shut, he who holds the greatest number of pips, pays a certain amount to the winners.
Endeavour to get rid of your heavy dominoes, and put obstacles in the way of your adversaries running out.
This is a very amusing game, and suitable for a round party.
If six or more play, each takes three dominoes. The fj is then called for, as in the French game, and the person holding it leads with it. If it is not out, the next highest double is called forth, and so on downwards until a start is made.
Polish draughts in its original form was played with forty men on a board of one hundred squares, but at the present day an ordinary draught-board and men are commonly used.
The men move like the men at Draughts, but capture like kings at Draughts—i.e., either forward or backward. A man reaching one of the squares farthest from his own end of the board, is crowned and becomes a king (sometimes termed a queen). A king moves like a bishop at chess—i.e., along any of the four diagonals he commands, and may be moved to any unoccupied square of that diagonal, provided the intermediate squares are vacant. If there is an unguarded piece on one of the diagonals within a king's range—i.e., no guarded piece intervening, he is bound to capture, but may be placed on any unoccupied square of that diagonal beyond the piece captured, provided the intermediate squares are vacant. But if there is another unguarded piece on the board, the capturing king is bound to choose, if possible, that square of the diagonal from which another capture can be made. Also, if by the uncovering of a square during the captures another piece becomes unguarded, it is similarly liable to be captured in course of the same move.
If a man in capturing reaches a crowning square, and there is another piece en prise by a man's move, the move is not finished as at draughts, but continued so as to take as many pieces as possible. In such case, however, the fact of passing the crowning square in capturing does not entitle the man moved to be made a king.
If a player is able to capture in more than one direction, he is bound to make that move which will capture the greatest number of pieces. Thus, three men must be taken in preference to two kings.
If a player neglects to capture, or does not capture all the pieces he can, or does not choose the move by which he can capture the greatest number, the adversary may huff or may compel the player to complete the capture, or may allow the move to stand.
When two pieces of one colour are played on a diagonal, with one unoccupied square between them to which the adversary can move, the position is called a "lunette," corresponding to the "breeches" at ordinary draughts.
If a "lunette" is entered, one of the adversary's pieces must be taken. It is often laid as a snare by a skilful player; therefore, before entering a "lunette " it is well to consider what will be the position after the capture.
A single king against three kings can draw. A player with a king and a man against three kings, should sacrifice the man, as the game at this point is more easily defended with the king alone.
The game is played by two persons with twenty men each, on a board containing one hundred squares divided into ten rows, and in a manner similar to the common game, except that in this pieces are taken either backward or forward; but in executing a stroke the adversary is not to move more than once over any of his captives, and should all the captured pieces not be taken off the board, the capturer in that case is forfeited or huffed, at the option of the antagonist, and the act of huffing is not to be reckoned as a move. A player may decline the huff by compelling his adversary to capture, or may delay doing either, and if several of the opponent's pieces oe in