Computing with Bifocals - Playing Dominoes On Your Mac
- July 27th, 2005
In my last column I wrote about a great crossword software package called MacXword. I promised to follow up in this column with another fun software package for playing dominoes. So here goes. From my childhood, I remember seeing my elderly relatives playing dominoes under a shade tree in a small town in Georgia.
Later on I remember playing it myself, first with my siblings and then later as an adult with my parents or friends. For a while "42" was all the rage. Perhaps it still is in parts of the country. Just like Mahjong is the game of choice in some places, Bridge in others, Backgammon in others., etc.
Whatever, if Dominoes holds a special place in your memories or in your current idea of fun, you should definitely check this out. It is an extremely well done game and it has been around a long time so that there are no bugs. There is enough variety in game choices to hold your interest and assure that your money is well spent. There are a lot of built in extras as well.
Under the heading of irrelevant, but nevertheless interesting trivia, here are some facts (included within this game) that you can store away for that next exciting game of Trivia Pursuit.
- The oldest known set of dominoes dates from around 1120 AD.
- Dominoes are generally believed to be of Chinese origin.
- Dominoes were introduced to Europe at some point in the 18th century, debuting in Italy.
- One thought is that name "Domino" comes from their resemblance to the black domino half-mask worn in a Masquerade.
- The basic block game seems to be the oldest game of all, with ones like Muggins being invented in the early 20th century.
Dominoes 3.1 (Release 3/29/2003)
|Manufacturer: Allgood Software
Home Page: http://www.allgoodsw.com/
Description: Software that enables users to play 16 versions of dominoes against 2, 3 or 4 opponents.
Price: U.S. $19.95 includes free upgrades
Minimum Requirements: Mac OS X 10 or greater, 452k RAM (Also available for pre OS X machines in version 2.0 which also requires 452k RAM. Version 2.0 not evaluated for this column.)
System Used for Testing: PowerBook G4, Mac OS X 10.4.1
There are 16 versions of dominoes included. "Draw" is the basic game. "Draw" and "Muggins" are the most popular versions. In "Muggins" the goal is to lay down your tiles in such a way that the open ends add up to multiples of five. "All Threes" is played by the same concept, but using multiples of three. Just how good are those old math skills? Because if that is not enough of a challenge, you can always try "3's & 5's" where you have to keep up with multiples of both sets. Following is a list of all the games.
Games Included in Dominoes 3.1
Now, to review some of the basics. The game board looks like this. In this example there are four players. Note the Score and Use panes on the right of the image. The Use pane can become very important when one is a strategy player because as the dominos start to stretch out in any one direction, the inner dominoes will disappear off the screen, allowing for clear viewing of the playing area. There are alternate versions of these two panes if the user wants a different view. As a player scores, a dialog box displays a message to that effect. The dialog box disappears with a mouse click.
A set of rules is provided for each game.
Sample Game Rules
There are other settings available that allow a user to individualize the playing surface. Setting the domino style and size can be important to visually impaired or visually restricted players. Domino styles are found under the Options Menu.
The user also has the option of determining the number of players, the difficulty of each match and the color choices of the voice boxes, as well as game lengths, domino sets, and who leads. Player settings and game settings are found under the Options Menu.
I said at the beginning that there are lots of built in extras included with this game. Here are some of the best.
- You can double click a domino to quickly play it to the field (if there is only one place to play it.)
- If a domino has a white highlight around it, you can quickly play it by clicking on the space you wish to move it to.
- With the "Autodraw" feature enabled, bones will automatically be drawn from the boneyard for you if you have nothing to play. Activate "Autodraw" under the Options Menu.
- If you are not using "Autodraw" you can click the "Draw" button, or just click on the "Boneyard" label in the main window to draw another domino.
- "Sticky Mouse" can be useful alternative to the default "click and drag" behavior -- especially for laptop users. When "Sticky Mouse" is activated you can move the domino without continually holding down the mouse button or the track button of the laptop track pad "Sticky Mouse" is activated under the Options Menu.
- You can change the way the scores are shown, by clicking anywhere in the Score Window itself.
I showed this game to a friend and he summed it up nicely by describing it as "very clean". That is a good way to say it. It is a well designed and executed application that you can just enjoy. It is shareware which means you can download it from the author's web site. Version 3.1 for OS X is available on Version Tracker, however, I didn't have much luck finding the earlier version for OS 8 or 9 there.
My next column will look at the preferences for Tiger, including some hints for making the most of what the preferences have to offer.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
|Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.
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