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ZIGGURAT RULES v. 2 ( last edit 10.08.2007)



  • Created by Thomas Gale, © 2003 - 2007
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  • Number of Players: 1 (or more)
  • Duration: 5-30 min
  • Atmosphere: light puzzle stacking game
  • Theme: abstracted temple building


  • 28 Dominoes (from double blank to double sixes)
  • 1 foundation map (a 6x6 inch grid that is easily created with pen and paper)


Attempt to build a Ziggurat of Sacred Alignment in order to please the gods.


Use all the dominoes to build a tiered pyramid (ziggurat) with the fewest cheats.


Mix all 28 dominoes face down in a pile and place your foundation map before you.


The dominoes are the building blocks of your ziggurat. The foundation map is where the ziggurat is to be built. Draw 3 dominoes from the pile and turn them face up before you. These 3 dominoes are your "hand". To play, you may take any one of the dominoes from your hand and place it face up on the foundation map. Each time you play a domino you may immediately refill your hand from the pile. You are trying to build a three-tiered ziggurat that fits exactly on the foundation map. In order for the ziggurat to be a "Ziggurat of Sacred Alignment" the manner in which you place must be followed by these rules:

  • No domino or part of a domino may rest outside the foundation.
  • The bottom tier must have 18 dominoes.
  • The middle tier must have 8 dominoes.
  • The top tier must have 2 dominos.
  • Each tier must be centered to the foundation and square-shaped.
  • No part of a domino may rest above another part of a domino that is of equal of greater value.
  • When placing a domino at least one half of the domino must be adjacent to a domino of equal value. Such a domino may exist on a different tier. Diagonals do not count.
  • The bottom tier need not be complete before construction of the middle or upper tier is begun. But dominoes must always rest on other dominoes or the foundation (no balancing).
  • Once a domino is placed, then it may not be repositioned except by cheating.


Every domino picked up from the ziggurat and replaced is counted as a cheat. If you cheat then your score is penalized 1 point per domino repositioned. Add up all the cheats to get a score. Note: If the domino that you want to reposition is resting underneath another, both count as cheats.


  • 0 cheats - Legendary Architect of the Divine.
  • 1 cheat - Master Architect.
  • 2 cheats - Reputable Architect.
  • 3 cheats - Modest Architect.
  • 4 cheats- Feeble Architect.
  • 5 or more cheats - Disgraceful Blundering Saboteur.


Below is an example of the foundation and how the game might look after a few turns. (See fig A) Domino values are represented by numerals rather than pips in this diagram. Note the outline of each domino.

Then a player places a 1-4 domino. See fig B.

Then supposing the player chose to start building the second tier on the space highlighted red below. See fig C.

A 3-2 domino is placed above the 1 and 1, but with one side still adjacent to a 3. See fig D.


This was one of the first games I created and it is more of a puzzle. I made a Acrobat PDF printable mat with rules available for free here.

Visit: Invisible City Games for another different game entitled 'Ziggurat' using dominoes (pure coincidence as I found out after posting my game!). They have many other great free games.

Please, please let me know if you actually played this game. Email: tomgale@)



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