Rivers, Roads & Rails

Rivers, Roads & Rails, a game quite similar to dominoes, is played by 1 to 8 players. This matching game uses 140 square tiles. In some respects it resembles another similar game "Bendomino". There are several square card pieces with different colored tracks of different shapes. Ken Garland and Associates created the Rivers, Roads & Rails and the game was published for the first time in the year 1969. The game was named "Connect" when it was first published. Ravensburger has produced the game since 1970. The game initially had an abstract form. Josef Loflath designed the artwork of the current theme in the year 1984. The game has been known by other names such as "Contact" as well.

Rivers Roads & Rails

Rivers, Roads & Rails Game Play


A wide area such as the floor or a tabletop is used for playing the game. All the tiles are kept face down on one side and the players have to draw 10 tiles randomly and arrange the tiles with their faces up. The youngest among all the players starts the game. The opening player draws one face-down tile at random and places it at the play field's center with its face up.


Once the opening player begins the game, each player draws one face-down tile in turns. Each tile is marked with at least 1 road, river or rail. The player has the aim of placing 1 of the cards in a manner which matches the rail, road and/or river on some of the already played tiles. A player must pass if he or she is unable to play a tile. The play then continues to the following player and advances in this manner until one player successfully matches a tile. The game finishes for a player once all his or her cards have been played.


The player who first finishes playing all the tiles in his or her hands becomes the winner. If the game reaches a stage where none of the players have a matching tile left, then the player with the least number of tiles is declared the winner.

Rivers, Roads & Rails enthusiasts wonder whether all the 140 cards used in the game can be arranged in a manner so that all the lines are closed with no open ends left and the cards form a large square without any gaps.


The 140 pieces used in this game include:

  1. Regular cards with continuous tracks
  2. Forty straight switch-track-cards with a single or multi-colored lines stop at the same point where 1 or more other lines start or continue.
  3. Two different split-route cards that can be attached together at the three-line-side.

The regular cards can be classified into the mono-line, double line and triple line cards. The mono-line cards include:

  • 14 red cards
  • 14 blue cards
  • 14 black cards

The double-line cards are also divided into the following three categories:

  • 14 black-red cards
  • 14 black-blue cards
  • 14 blue-red cards


Muggins, also called Five Up, Doer Di and All Fives, is a kind of Domino game. It uses the commonly available Dominoes set. The player has to rid his or her hand of dominoes while score as many points as possible in order to win the game. Points are scored by playing the dominoes (or bones) in a way so that the sum of all the pips on dominoes situated on the board's endpoints equals to any multiple of 5.

John McLeod of Pagat.com says that the game's name differs depending on the total "spinners" in play. These doubles can be constructed from all 4 sides. Muggins is the variety of the game which is played without any spinner while a single spinner is used in the All Fives and all the doubles are spinners in Five Up.

Scoring in Muggins

A player earns points by arranging a domino in such a way that the total sum of the open ends equals to any multiple of 5. The sum of all the ends is equal to the total points won by the player. This means if a player builds a domino in a manner which makes the total sum of all the ends 10, 15, 20 or 25, the points scored by the player will be equal to that number. All the pips on the dominoes situated in crosswise double are added in the count.

Muggins Game Play

When four or more players are playing the game, each player plays with 5 dominoes while every player has 7 dominoes when two or three players are playing the game. The "boneyard" is formed by placing the remaining dominoes on one side of the board. The starting of the game can be decided by who has the domino with the highest-value or the highest double. The highest-value or highest double domino is always played first. The initial count can be divided equally by 5 if the domino is 3-2, 4-1, 5-0, 5-5, or 6-4. The players then take turns for laying identical dominoes on the endpoints. In games which start with a double, the players are allowed to arrange similar dominoes on the long side of the double and form 4 initial endpoints. The players who are holding at least 1 domino that matches an end must continue playing. A player has to draw until he or she has a playable domino. The scores for the endpoint are called before they are noted as a player makes a play.

Muggins Variations

"Fives and Threes" is another game similar to the All Threes and Muggins. But the scoring system is a little different as the player can earn points for multiples of 3 and 5 at open ends. Each multiples of 3 and the multiples of 5 is worth 1 point. However, the players are allowed to score points in combination.

This game can be played both with and without a "sniff". Cribbage boards are used for scoring in Fives and Threes which is commonly played to 121, 61 or 31 points.