Invented by Howard Fosdick © BestFreeNewGames.com
In this game,
players "fish" for domino tiles from the "pool" of face up tiles on
the table. Play is quick and easy, though not devoid of challenge.
Players and Equipment:
basic game, two players use a set of 6-6 dominoes.
After learning the basic game, some use two 6-6 sets of dominoes for a
longer, more challenging game.
To win the hand
(or deal) by scoring the most points.
Turn all dominoes
faces down and shuffle. Two players each draw four tiles for their
Four more tiles are laid face up
between the players. These are
collectively called the pool
Remaining tiles become the draw stock
and are left face down at the side of the table.
Randomly select a player for the first turn in the first hand. In
subsequent hands, the loser of the previous hand goes first.
In his turn, each player
plays one tile from his hand to the table. After his turn, he draws
one tile from the draw stock. So a player starts each turn with four
tiles in hand.
In his turn, a player
may do one of the following with the single tile he plays:
- Capture -- Capture one or more tiles from the
pool and take them as his winnings.
- Build -- Play a tile to the table such that he
can capture two or more tiles in a subsequent turn.
- Trail -- Add a tile to those in the pool. If a
player cannot capture or build, he is required to trail.
Here are the specifics for each option:
1. Capture (simple):
from a player's hand has the same total dot count as one tile in the
pool. The player displays the tile in his hand and captures
the tile from the pool. He places both tiles face down in his winnings
over at his side of the table.
All blanks on dominoes represent zeros. Thus, the 4-blank tile is
treated as a 4-0 tile in Scarnechhia, and will be referred to as such
in the remainder of these rules.
2. Capture (multiple):
from a player's hand has the same total dot count as two or more tiles
on the table when they are added together. The player displays the
tile in his hand and captures all the corresponding tiles from the
pool. He places all the tiles face down in his winnings pile over at
his side of the table. Here's an example of a multiple capture:
3. Build (simple):
player adds a tile from his hand to a tile on the table. This "builds"
a new sum for the two conjoined tiles in the pool. The player is
required to state the target sum
he is building. He will be required to display a tile with that sum in
his next turn and capture the two tiles composing his target sum. Here
is an example:
When building, a player must show the target sum tile from his hand on
his next turn immediately after completing the build. Failure to do so
violates the rules and loses the hand. The player places the tiles
involved in the build and the tile used for their capture face down
into his winnings pile.
Note it is possible the opponent could play a target sum tile in his
intervening turn and steal the build away from its creator. This is
called stealing a build
is a risk the builder faces.
In the above example, assume the player creating the 7-build has the
4-3 tile in hand. He lays down the 1-1 tile and announces "building
7". However, before his next turn (in which he intends to display the
4-3 to capture the 2-3 and 1-1 tiles), his opponent steals the build
by presenting the 5-2 tile. Oops! The opponent steals the build and
captures the tiles. The player with the 4-3 is released from his build
obligation to play the 4-3 domino and is free to play whatever piece
he likes in his next turn.
An opponent can also steal a build by altering its target sum. Here's
an example of how this works:
In this example, the first player adds the 1-1 to the 2-3 and
announces "building 7". In his turn, the opponent adds a 5-0 tile to
the 2-3 and 1-1, and says "building 12". The target sum for the build
is now 12. This second player is required to have a tile with 12 total
pips on it in hand and must display it in his next turn to capture the
build. (Failure to do so violates the rules and loses the hand.) Of
course, if possible, the first player can steal the build back from
his opponent if he happens to have in hand a tile matching new target
When the target sum for any build is altered by an opponent, the
player who started the build is released from his obligation to play
his initial target sum tile in his next turn.
No player can combine a build with multiple capture. Tiles in a build
cannot be combined with other pool tiles (outside the build) when
captured. Only single tiles in the pool are eligible for multiple
4. Build (multiple):
In a simple build, a player adds one tile to the pool in one turn, and
captures the two tiles in his next turn. In a multiple build, the
player adds more than one tile from his hand to one on the table in
order to create a total pip count that one tile in his hand can
capture. He can only add one tile to the pool each turn to create the
multiple build. So the operation spans several turns.
In the example below, a player "builds 10" across two turns. In his
first turn, he places the 1-1 below the 1-2 and announces "building
10". In his second turn, he adds the 0-5 tile. He has now created the
build target sum of 10 he announced.
In his third turn, the player is required to display a 10-pip tile
from his hand. He then takes the 1-2, 1-1, 0-5, and the target sum
tile from his hand, and places them all face down in his winnings
For a multiple build, the player doing the building is not
required to have a tile in hand for any intermediate total pip count,
only a tile that permits him to capture the build after he completes
it. He always announces the final pip count he is building towards
(not any intermediate pip count).
As with any build, in his turn the opponent can either:
- Capture the build by displaying a
tile from his hand having the current total pip count of the build (this
can be either an intermediate build sum, or the final build sum, whichever is
presently on the table)
- Alter the build by adding a tile and announcing his own target
total pip count
- Ignore the build and implement other plays
In case (2), wherein the opponent alters the build, he now is required
to follow the normal build rules. That is, he must announce his target
total pip count for his build and capture it immediately after it has
been built by displaying the appropriate target sum tile from his
can trail in any turn. This means he simply takes a tile from his hand
and places it face up into the pool at the end of the line of tiles. A
player is free to trail any time he wishes to (except when in the
middle of a build, of course). A player is required
to trail a domino if he cannot capture or build. Players typically
trail only if unable to capture or build.
When a player captures
the tiles from the pool in
one play, he cleans or sweeps
the table. This scores extra points. It also forces
his opponent to trail in his turn, since there are no tiles left in
the pool to capture or build upon.
The 0-0 Tile:
If a player has
the 0-0 tile in his hand (the blank-blank tile), he is required to
play it to the pool first in order to win it
The player may use it as part of a build or he may trail with it. A
player may not
the 0-0 tile from his hand and place it in his winnings pile as part
of some other capture.
If a player adds the 0-0 to any build (his own or his opponent's), it
does not change the total target pip count of the build. It is,
however, a valid component to the build process.
The 1-1 tile is in
the pool. A player holds the 0-0 and 0-2 tiles in his hand. He could
capture the 0-0 tile by adding it to the 1-1 tile in the pool and
stating "building 2". Displaying the 0-2 bone in his next turn
captures the 1-1, 0-0, and 0-2 dominoes for his winnings pile.
End of Game:
Play stops after
the player who draws the last tile from the drawing stock completes
his turn. Dominoes still in hand or the pool at the end of the game
score no points.
There are three
alternative ways to score Scarnecchia. Agree before play which system
you'll use. Scoring by tiles is simplest, whilst scoring by threes is
By Tiles: Count 1 point for each tile won,
and award 3 points for each sweep.
Players score as follows:
||1 point to the player who
wins the most tiles
||1 point to the player who
wins the most doublets
||1 point to the player who
wins the most tiles showing a 3-spot
||1 point for each sweep
By Threes: Players score the same as By
The sole difference is that tiles having a 3-spot on their face score 1
point for each 3-spot won.
The 3-3 tile counts as two 3-spots and thus scores 2 points.
Tips for Play:
This is a game of choices and memory. Lighter
tiles are useful in building target sums. Heavier tiles are valuable
in multiple captures and to capture builds.
For builds and multiple builds, carefully consider whether your
opponent can intervene and disrupt your play. This requires knowledge
of what tiles are still out, and what your opponent has hinted he may
have in hand by past plays.
Note that a player could simply trail tiles from his hand that he
wants to capture instead creating a build with them. In the first
example above, instead of "building 7" by attaching the 1-1 to the
2-3, the player could simply trail the 1-1. Then, in his next turn he
could multiple capture the 2-3 and 1-1 with his 7-spot tile:
A build can be advantageous because it locks a group of tiles together
into a single total pip count, rather than trailing another "loose"
domino in the pool and giving the opponent greater flexibility in
capture choices. However, depending on what tiles are out, simply
trailing can present advantages over the more restrictive build rules.
A build predetermines the builder's next play and sometimes the
opponent can take advantage of that. Consider whether a build or trail
works to your advantage in any specific situation.
If forced to trail, consider how likely it is your opponent will
capture the tile you trail. Trail a piece you can take in the next
turn. When you have a choice, trail a less valuable tile and take it
on the next turn with a more valuable tile. For example, if you're
scoring By Threes, place the 2-4 in the pool and capture it with the
3-3 from your hand next turn. This captures the two points for the 3-3
without exposing it to possible capture by your opponent.
A player can prevent sweeps by ensuring the total pip count on the
table exceeds the pip count of any single tile not yet played.
Remember, captures can only be effected by a single
from the hand. Consider whether any capture is worth it
if it means your opponent can sweep in his turn.
If you have the 0-0 in hand, an easy technique to capture it is to add
it to any tile in the pool that your opponent doesn't appear able to
capture, and call it a build with the same target pip total as the
original tile. Then capture both tiles on the next turn with the
appropriate target sum tile from the hand. Alternatively, you may wish
to add the 0-0 to any multiple build you create.
Using two sets of 6-6 dominoes means there are two of each tile in the
game. Steals and sweeps become more common in the two set game.
This histogram shows the 28 dominoes in a standard set and how many
there are of each total pip count:
Feel free to print, copy, and distribute these rules, so long as you retain this paragraph. Invented by Howard Fosdick © 2023, distributed under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND