Dominoes are small rectangular blocks with a square pattern of dots on one face. They are also known as bones, cards, men, or pieces.

As each player plays a tile, a line of dominoes is formed on the table. This configuration is called the layout, string, or line of play.


There are many variations of domino games. Players should decide on a score goal before starting – most play until 100, 150 or 200 points. Usually, the game is played with two players, but it can be played with more. The tiles are shuffled and the player who holds the heaviest double starts. The player may also draw new hands, depending on the rules of the game.

Each player takes turns placing their dominoes in a line joining them to matching ends. If a double is played it must be a spinner, meaning that it can be used on all four sides. Each side of the domino that is exposed scores a different amount of points. The winner is the first player to reach 100 points. Alternatively, the players may count the total value of the open ends (multiples of five) on the losing players’ dominoes at the end of a hand or the game.


Dominoes are made of a variety of materials, but they are usually small rectangular blocks of wood or plastic. One side of each domino is marked with an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice; the other side is blank or identically patterned. These dots are called pips and they determine the value of each domino.

A typical set of dominoes has 28 tiles, although larger sets exist for games involving multiple players or that require long rows of dominoes to be played. Most domino sets come with a booklet of rules and instructions for various specific games. Most games can be kept track of with pencil and paper, although some players prefer to use a home computer to print out special sheets for each game.

The earliest European dominoes were made of bone, and they first became popular in Italy and France during the 18th century. They also spread to England and America. The game is believed to have been introduced by French prisoners of war in Britain.


Many different variations of domino exist, each adapted to a specific type of game or situation. Generally, the players play in pairs and sit opposite each other. The tiles are shuffled and then each player draws seven dominoes. The player with the highest number of pips takes first seat and then passes play to his or her partner.

Players begin laying dominoes by matching pips on the open ends of the pieces, extending them out from one another to create lines of play. The goal is to get rid of all of your dominoes before your opponent. Normally, the players score points according to a target set by the game’s rules (e.g. 100, 150 or 200 points).

Often, doubles count as two and blanks count as zero. This is known as the “spot value” of a domino. The winner of a round is the player who scores the most points, including the spot value of his or her own unplayed tiles.


Dominoes were popular in Britain from France during the 18th Century and were often played in inns and taverns. The word, domino, first referred to a type of monastic hood, later to a hooded masquerade costume with a small mask, and eventually to one of the pieces in a set of domino tiles.

Depending on the game-type or setting, the game may be played until one player is out by playing all of his/her tiles or until a specified point limit is reached. Usually, the winner is determined by who has the highest number of points at that time.

Scoring is done by counting the exposed dots on all the endpoints of the domino chain. Each exposed side of a double (except for spinners) counts as two points. When both ends of a double are exposed, they count as four points. At the end of a hand or game, players’ total scores are added up and rounded to the nearest multiple of five.

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