# Domino – A Game of Skill and Chance

Domino is a game of skill and chance. It’s played on a flat surface with one domino knocking over another domino.

Before play begins the tiles are shuffled and players draw hands. The player drawing the highest double usually starts, or if no double is drawn, the player holding the heaviest single.

## Rules

There are many different domino games that can be played. Some involve blocking while others focus on scoring. To play, players draw and place dominoes on the table in a line of play. When it is your turn, you must place a tile that matches dots with an open end on the board. If you cannot do so, you must knock, or rap the table, to let the opponents know that you can’t play your domino.

Each player draws seven domino tiles for a two or three player game. The rest of the dominoes are left face down and are called the boneyard. Once a player is out of dominoes, the round ends and that player scores based on the number of dots on their opponent’s remaining dominoes.

Dominoes are played so their matching ends match each other except for doubles, which must be placed in a cross pattern. Some games have a special type of double known as a spinner, which can be played on all four sides.

## Materials

A domino is a small, thumb-sized rectangular block, often twice as long as it is wide and bearing from one to six dots, or pips, on each end. These pips represent the values of each end and the total value of a domino is given by adding up all the pips on both sides. A domino can be made from wood, bone, or even a piece of ivory. It may be painted, or decorated with a design or colors. Modern domino sets are usually made from heavy plastic.

Teachers can use a set of dominoes to help students learn addition and subtraction equations. For example, the teacher can hold up a domino with four on one end and two on the other and ask students to name an addition equation that represents the relationship between the numbers. The class can then try to create the same equation using a domino that has different pips on each end.

## Variations

Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide, and have two square ends with dots ranging in value from six to blank. The number of dots on a domino is sometimes called its rank or weight; a domino with more dots is “heavier” than one with fewer.

In most domino games, the player with the heaviest double starts play. The game may end when one player wins by playing all of their tiles or if it gets blocked and no player can continue to play.

Some domino sets are extended with additional ends with higher numbers of pips, increasing the number of possible combinations of dominoes and creating new possibilities for play. The most common extension is to a double-nine set with 55 dominoes. This set is commonly used for scoring games where each end is scored when it becomes divisible by five or three. Some of these games also use doubles as spinners to allow the line of play to branch.

## Scoring

There are many ways to score a domino game. Some games are scored by counting the number of dots on a domino or by determining who has the highest total in a round. In most cases a winning player is determined when all rounds are completed. This may be after a set amount of rounds is reached or when a specified point limit (usually 150 points) has been met.

A common scoring system is to count the number of times a domino is divisible by five or three. Each time it is, a player scores that amount of points. For example, if one domino is played to another that has four at one end and five at the other, this makes nine, which is divisible by both five and three and therefore earns a player five points.

In blocking games a player wins when they can no longer add tiles to the layout and there are no more dominoes in the boneyard. This happens when all opposing players have reached a predetermined point limit or have no more dominoes in their hands.