Highrise Review
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Players: 2-4 (ages 8+)
Playing Time: 10-20 minutes

This high-stacking, rotating game is, without a doubt, unlike any domino game you’ve ever played. Instead of placing dominoes end-to-end, you have to stack them on top of each other—and the higher you stack, the higher your score.

Inside the Highrise tin, you’ll find a special set of dominoes, numbered zero through six—with the addition of a number of WILD spaces that can be used as any number. There’s also a revolving game board, on which players will stack their dominoes.

Before play begins, place the dominoes facedown and choose eight dominoes at random to form the base (or “basement”). Players each draw five dominoes and begin taking turns stacking the dominoes in their hand on top of the base, earning points for each domino placed.

To play on top of two dominoes that are separated by a level, you can use one of the twelve clear spacers. Just place the spacer on top of the lower domino and stack yours on top.

When one player uses her last domino, the round has ended. That player then gets to add the number of points left in her opponents’ hands to her total. Or, if all of the dominoes have been taken from the draw pile and no one can play, players add the number of points left in their hand and subtract the number from their point total. The player with the most points at the end of the round is the winner—or, if you want to keep going, you can play to a pre-determined number of points, like 300, and the first player to reach that score is the winner.

To win, you’ll need a little bit of strategy (which will keep you on your toes), but you’ll also need a lot of luck (which keeps things pretty equal). And since you don’t necessarily have to be the first one to use all of your dominoes in order to earn the most points, it’s anyone’s game.

Highrise is simple enough to play with the kids, yet interesting enough to cause a pair of adults to lose all track of time while playing well into the night. And I would know. I kept playing “one more round…” until I could barely keep my eyes open. It’s that addictive.

If you’ve ever thought that dominoes were just for little kids and senior citizens, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Highrise will have you hooked in no time at all. It’s one of the best games I’ve played this year. I couldn’t recommend it more.

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