## The Basics of Dominoes

Dominoes are rectangular tiles that display a number on one end. They are blank or identically patterned on the other.

As players play dominoes in a line (called the layout, string, or line of play), they score points by counting the exposed ends that total a multiple of five. A double played as the lead is a spinner and may be played on all four sides.

## Rules

There are a number of different games that can be played with domino. The rules vary from game to game, but they generally involve scoring the total amount of pips in each players’ hand at the end of the game.

The first step in any game of domino is to shuffle and establish who starts. The player who draws the highest double usually starts, although there are variations to this rule. For example, some players may prefer that a spinner (domino that can be played on all four sides) start.

The remaining dominoes form a boneyard, which players can draw from to make their first play. If a player can’t find a double for his turn, he must put a marker on his train, making it public, and then draw from the boneyard until he finds a domino that can be joined to his train. Players then play in turn. If no one can make a play, the game is over.

## Variations

Dominoes are a fun way to pass the time, and there are many different variants. They are also an excellent way to foster teamwork and communication. Whether you are playing a blocking game like Mexican Train or a scoring game like Chickenfoot, there is bound to be a domino variant to suit your preferences.

Each domino features a line in the center to visually divide it into two squares, called ends. The dominant end of each domino is marked with an arrangement of spots, or “pips,” that look similar to the ones on a die. The other side of the domino is blank or identically patterned.

Each player takes turns placing a single domino, ensuring that its open ends match those of another tile in the chain. A domino with one matching end is called a spinner. The chain grows as players add tiles to the double, ensuring that each new tile is placed perpendicularly to the existing chain.

## Materials

Dominoes are small rectangular blocks of rigid material that are used for various games. They are also called bones, cards, men, or pieces and are usually twice as long as they are wide. They are marked with an arrangement of spots, or pips, on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. The number of pips on each side of a domino is indicative of the value of that domino.

There are many different materials used to make dominoes. These include plastics (e.g., polystyrene), metals, stone (such as marble or granite), wood, and others. Many dominoes are mass-produced in these materials for use in standard games, while more expensive sets of dominoes are crafted from unique, high-quality materials.

Players can hold a stack of dominoes in their hand or on a domino rack. A more convenient way to keep track of scores is to use a small, narrow domino box with a ridged backstop and a space on the back for a row of tiles standing on end.

## Scoring

The scoring system in domino varies between games. Generally, players compare the total number of pips left on their domino tiles to those of their opponents at the end of a game. The player who has the lowest number of pips wins.

In the classic block game, players add to their own train of dominoes each turn by playing a double tile that matches one of the open ends of those already in the line of play. Depending on the rules, any other players may also add to an opponent’s train, though at a limit of one tile per turn.

A team version of the game is played in many British public houses and social clubs. Teams of two or four are assigned a seat at the table by lot. The winning team scores the value of the total of all the dominoes in their teammates’ hands. Often, a higher score will indicate the winner.