How to Play Domino

You’ve seen it in the videos: hundreds or thousands of dominoes set up in careful sequence, then toppled with just a small nudge. This is what Hevesh does for a living.

Dominos are small, oblong pieces with a value on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. They may also feature a line in the middle to divide them visually into two squares called ends.


The game of domino is played with a set of 28 rectangular pieces divided into two squares with numbers that range from zero to six. The highest domino has two exposed ends and is known as a double six. A player’s turn begins with putting down one of his dominoes in such a way that its value matches the domino on the end of the chain.

Dominoes are joined end to end except for doubles which may only be joined across the line. If a player cannot play he must draw from the boneyard until he can.

Players score points whenever a domino in their opponents’ hands adds up to a multiple of five. When a player gets rid of his last domino the round ends and that player adds up the total value of the pips in his opponents’ hands to determine his (or their) score. The player with the lowest score wins the round.


There are many different variations of domino. Most of them fall into one of four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games and round games. Some have a delayed first turn and others require players to begin their train with the highest double they hold.

Domino tiles (also known as bones, cards, men or pieces) are usually twice as long as they are wide and feature a line in the middle dividing them into two squares. Each side of a domino has a value, either blank or 0, and the sum of the pips on both sides is the domino’s rank or weight.

A game of Straight dominoes starts much like a block game, but the players take turns placing matching domino halves end to end to extend the line. Scores are made whenever the exposed ends of a domino add up to a multiple of five. The Matador variation of the Straight game adds a special tile, called the matador, that can be placed at any of the exposed ends of the line.


When playing domino, the right materials make all the difference. You want to choose a table that can accommodate all the tiles you need and a sturdy surface that will keep your pieces from sliding around. You also need a way to keep track of your score and other information while playing. Most games involve a lot of numbering and counting, so you need to be able to store the numbers easily.

Plastic dominoes are the most common type and come in a variety of colors, accessories, and special effects. They are more consistent than those from Maria Lamping and can be used for building all kinds of lines, fields, and structures. The downside is that they usually come with a debossed logo and a limited color palette.

High end wood dominoes are handcrafted by skilled artisans and have a luxurious look. They are more expensive than plastic dominoes, but they will last a long time. They can be used to build curved lines or grids that form pictures when they fall. They can even be stacked to create 3D structures.


The scoring system in domino varies depending on the specific game variant being played. In general, the winner is awarded points equivalent to the number of dominoes remaining in his or her opponents’ hands. In a team game, the total of all players’ hand values is calculated to determine the winning score.

Generally, a player scores by matching the exposed ends of his or her tiles to the end of an existing domino chain. The two matching ends must touch fully, and the pips on both sides must match (one’s touching one’s, or two’s touching two’s).

In some games, the exposed end of the first double played in a line of play is called a spinner, and all four sides are counted as endings for scoring purposes. However, most games only count the number of ends that are exposed as the game progresses. The resulting scores are often divisible by five or multiples of three.

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