Article by Joe Celko (71062.1056@CompuServe.COM).
The game has a unique scoring principle of giving points for matching ends.
The game uses a double six domino set.
The games is for 2, 3 or 4 players
4 players get five tiles each, leaving a boneyard of 8 tiles.
2 players get six tile each, leaving a boneyard of 16 tiles.
3 players get six tile each, leaving a boneyard of 10 tiles.
One player starts a train. Other players add to either end. Doubles are played across, but are not spinners.
A player not able to add onto the train draws new tiles from the boneyard until he can play or until the boneyard is empty. If a player can neither play nor draw from the boneyard, he passes his turn.
Play continues until someone dominoes or the game blocks.
A player scores 2 points when his tile makes both ends of the train equal. This is called a "double header" because there are two exposed ends from the same suit.
A player scores 3 points when his play makes one end of the train equal to the double on the other end. He may have played either single or double tile. This is called a "triple header" because there are three exposed ends (remember the double is played across the line of the train) from the same suit.
A player within 2 points of winning scores only 1 point for a double header or a triple header.
A player within 3 points of winning scores only 2 point for a double header or a triple header.
The player who dominoes or wins a blocked round scores 2 points.
A game is 15 points for 2 players and 10 points for 3 or 4 players.
A round is blocked when nobody can play and there are at least two dominoes in the boneyard. Special rules apply for determining the winner of a blocked round. Unfortunately, there are several versions of these rules:
These rules are from Dominic C.Armanino (DOMINOES: POPULAR GAMES, RULES AND STRATEGY; Sterling Publishing Co.; ISBN 0-80694948-1; 1978.):
a) If only one player has NO doubles in his hand, he wins.
b) If nobody has a double, the player with the lowest pip total in his hand wins.
c) If more than one player has a double, the player with fewest number of tiles wins. Pips are not counted.
d) If everyone has a double, the player with the lowest double wins.
These rules are due to Reiner F. Muller (DOMINOES: BASIC RULES & VARIATIONS; Sterling Publishing, New York; ISBN 0-8069-3880-3). Apply these test in this order to determine the winner:
a) The player who has NO doubles in his hand.
b) The player with the FEWEST doubles in his hand.
c) The player with fewest number of pips on his tiles.
Another option for settling a blocked hand given in several older Hoyles and in DOMINOES by Gary M. Grady and Suzanne Goldberg (Gamescape Publications; ISBN 1-887594-01-9; 1995) is simply to use the lowest total number of pips to decide the winner and award a score of 1 point to that player. If two hands tie, there is no score.
Notice the slight difference in these rules and consider a round in a three player game that blocks like this:
Under the German rules, we would analyze the hand as follows:
Rule (1) does not apply because everyone has a double. Rule (2) does not apply because everyone has the same number of doubles, namely one. Rule (3) applies and Player B wins with a total of two pips.
However, under the American rules, the logic would be:
Rule (1) does not apply because everyone has a double. Rule (2) does not apply because everyone has a double. Rule (3) does not apply because two players have one tile each. Rule (4) does apply and Mr. A wins.
Mr. B would win under the simple rules.
It is the author's opinion that the simple rule is common enough and easier to apply than the other options, and therefore should be preferred.
The trick of counting the number of occurrences of a suit on the board is very useful in this game. Remember, each suit appears eight times in the ends of the tiles, so half of the available matching ends are used up at each double.
Doubles are important, so you should hold them as long as possible to get a triple header.
Since the count of the pips is not used for scoring, Bergen can be played by children with picture dominoes. The rules for a blocked game will need to be changed to suit the pictures and the age of the children. For example, if animals are used on the dominoes, then the player holding the double with the smallest animal is winner. If nobody has a double, the player with the fewest tiles wins.
The Game Cabinet - email@example.com - Ken Tidwell