Yeah sure, you can play dominoes online — just like chess or any other table game for that matter — but it’s much more fun when you’re with other players you can joke around with (or insult).
Just ask the men who congregate Monday through Saturday from around 1 to 4 p.m. at the Roswell Adult & Recreation Center to play the game.
The group varies from 15 to 18 players each day. They are not an organized club of any sorts, they just come on their own to enjoy themselves.
One of the players, Bob Bell, recalls how he got started playing dominos in his younger days.
“We didn’t have internet or TV,” he said. “We entertained ourselves by playing dominoes.”
Though there are several variations of the game, the men who gather at the adult center play what is called “straight dominoes” on dominorules.com.
This particular game calls for four players with two individuals to a team.
Of course, there is no limit to the number of “arm chair quarterbacks” who watch and offer commentary on who is the “most honest” player or the best upcoming rookie.
Straight dominoes is the game usually played at old-fashioned domino halls in small towns throughout Texas and other southern states, and the games at the adult center are no exception.
Paul Fresquez compared the game to chess. But the difference, he said, is that “dominoes players are better-looking.”
Darwin Miller added that at one time there were dominoes tournaments in Roswell, but now the local gamesters play informally just for the fun of it.
If four are playing the game, it may be played as a partnership (the two players sitting opposite one another are partners).
To begin, 28 dominoes are placed face down and shuffled, much like a deck of cards.
Each player then draws seven dominoes for his hand. The remaining dominoes (the boneyard), if any, are left face down on the table to be drawn later if a player is unable to play from his hand.
The player who draws the highest double or the highest domino plays first, playing any domino he wishes from his hand.
The object of the game is to score points by laying the dominoes end to end (the touching ends must match: i.e., one’s touch one’s, two’s touch two’s, etc.). If the dots on the exposed ends total any multiple of five, the player is awarded that number of points. All sides of the first double (the spinner) may be used one piece to each side and later one to each end. All other doubles are played at right angles to the line and the total points on both ends are counted.
Dominoing occurs when one player goes out by playing all of his dominoes. The sum of the spots of all opposing players is computed and added to the dominoing player’s score (rounded to the nearest five).
Scoring in multiples of five does present its challenges, Fresquez said.
“Some people can’t count beyond 10, so they have to take their shoes and socks off,” he quipped.
A score of 250 points is usually considered a game. The first person (or partnership) to score this amount wins the game. The dominoes are shuffled and a new game begins. Along with unsolicited commentary from the peanut gallery.
The Roswell Adult & Recreation Center is located at 807 N. Missouri Ave. For more information about dominoes and the myriad of other activities at the center, call 575-624-6718.
Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or firstname.lastname@example.org.