Chickenfoot is a fun way to play dominoes that has been around for many years. It’s known by many different names: Chickenfoot, Chicken dominoes, Chickie or Chickie dominoes.
A set of double dominos (Double 6 or Double 9’s work well) and a large flat surface. This can be relatively cheap if you use an existing table but relatively expensive if you play on a 84″ flat screen TV set layed on it’s back.
Play all your dominos and have the lowest score at the end of the game. Chickenfoot is played in rounds. Each dot (or pip) on the dominos left in your hand at the end of the round counts as a point against you.
Number of Players:
The number of players depends on the domino set being used.
- Double 6’s – 2-4 players
- Double 9’s – 4-6 players
- Double 12’s – up to 10 players
All dominos are placed upside down in the center of the table and mixed around so that nobody knows the location of any specific domino. Each player randomly selects a certain number of dominos to make their “hand”. They may view their dominos but keep them secret from their apponents. The amount of dominos selected depends on the domino set being used.
- Double 6’s – 5 dominos
- Double 9’s – 7 dominos
- Double 12’s – 7 dominos for larger groups, 9 dominos for smaller groups
The player with the highest double lays it down in the center of the table face up. If you are playing with Double 9’s, ask if any player has Double 9’s. If nobody does, ask for Double 8’s, etc.
Play continues to the first player’s left. That player plays any tile that he/she has the same amount of dots on one side as the original double tile had on each side. He/she may play it on one of the two long sides of the initial tile with the matching number against it. Play then continues to that player’s left.
The next player plays one of their tiles, that matches the initial tile, in one of the 5 remaining starting spots. (See Photo) If a player cannot play because they do not have a tile that matches the initial double layed down, the player draws one random tile from the table. If the drawn tile plays, they may play it. If not, they “Pass”. No other plays can be made until all six starting locations of the double are filled.
If you are playing with a Double 6 set, you can start your game with only four starting locations rather than the usual 6. (See Photo)
After all four sides of the original double tile are filled, the next player may play any of his or her tiles that matches an exposed end of a played domino. If they cannot play any of their tiles, they may draw and then “Pass” if their drawn tile does not play. If no dominos remain to draw from, the player simply calls “Pass”.
When a player plays a double on one of the exposed dominos with the same number of dots, he plays the domino sideways and the player calls “Chickenfoot”. At this point, no other dominoes can be played until three dominoes matching the newly placed double are played against it. The three dominoes played against it are each played along the long side of the double forming what will look like a “Chicken Foot”. (See Photo) Any player who doesn’t have a matching tile to the new double will have to draw and pass if their drawn tile does not match. Once all 3 matching tiles are played, the next player may play any of his or her tiles that matches an exposed end of a played domino.
Ending a Round:
The play continues until one of two situations occur.
- One of the players plays their last domino.
- No players can make a legal play.
When one of these situations occur, the round is over. Each player adds up the spots on each of the dominos left in their “Hand” and those numbers are kept on a score card. Some people play that the double blank domino is worth 0 points at the end of the round and other count it as 50 points. Decide how you will score the double blank before you start the game.
The next round begins the same way as the original round except that instead of the highest double being played first, the 2nd highest double is played. The third round is the third highest, etc. So if you are playing with Double 6 Dominos, you’ll have a total of 7 rounds, the first round you will start with the Double 6, 2nd round Double 5, 3rd round Double 4, etc. until you get to double 0’s.
Winning the Game:
At the end of all the rounds, the player with the lowest score wins the game.
Since the object of the game is to have the lowest score, it is in your best interest to get rid of your high value dominos and at the same time, prevent your opponents from playing theirs. To this end, one strategy is to try to keep high value exposed ends covered which prevents opponents from chicken footing them. Another strategy is to horde low value dominos and try to use up a particular number which you have the double for. Once you know that there are no longer three free dominos to complete the chickenfoot, you control when the round ends by playing your double tile.
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