A Challenging Aquarius™ variation


Aquarius is the second card game from Looney Labs. It plays much like dominoes, with the players trying to build regions of color that match the color on their "Goal" card. Since there are five colors (or "elements"), the game works best with five players.

Dominus1 is a variation that I originally developed for use with two players. I suppose it can be played with more players, but it has not yet been tested with anything but two.

The above description of the game as "much like dominoes" inspired this variation. You'll need to be familiar with the rules, cards, and play of Aquarius for this variation. A general knowledge of Dominoes will also be helpful.

What You'll Need


  1. Remove the 5 goal cards, and set them aside. They are not used in the game.
  2. Remove the 15 action cards from the deck, and set them aside. They are not used in the game.
  3. Shuffle the remaining deck.

How to Play

How to Begin

  1. Deal five cards to each player. These cards become that player's hand.
  2. Deal the top card off the deck into the middle of the table. This card is the starter card.
  3. The player to the left of the dealer takes the first turn.
  4. Play progresses to the left (clockwise).

On Your Turn

You must play one card from your hand, and attach it to the existing structure on the table.

How to Win

The first player to run out of cards is the winner of this round. The winner scores points for the cards left in opponents' hands.

You may wish to play several rounds, and add the scores from all rounds into a cumulative total to decide the overall game.

Due to card distribution2, it does seem that you can get a card in our hand which you will not be able to legally play. If this happens to all players, the player with the lowest total wins the round, however the value of that player's hand is subtracted from the player's score for that round.



Since you need to make an exact match, card placement is much more difficult. During play testing, each player had to draw from the deck at least once in each round.

This is a very different game than straight Aquarius. At times this game is very frustrating. I take that as a sign that it's an OK game.

End Notes

This variation is not named after, and has absolutely no connection to, Mark Jason Dominus. (Although he seems to be a pretty cool guy, and his friend Ranjit used to be friends with my sister.) No endorsement of this game by Mr. Dominus is meant, or should be implied.
Card distribution for a standard Aquarius deck is as follows: 10 aces (two of each element), 20 deuces (two of each possible pair, one set arranged horizontally and the other vertically), 10 quads (a pair of each possible set of four (two pairs are stereoisomers, two are anagrams, one is a rotation)).

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