How to Play Dominoes

Dominoes, also called bones, cards, men or pieces, are shaped like a square and feature an identity-bearing line on each of the two sides.

The value of a domino’s identity-bearing side is marked with spots, or “pips,” similar to those on a die. Some dominoes have blank faces, while others have specific design patterns.


The game of dominoes is believed to have originated in China around the 12th century. It was brought to Europe in the 18th century and quickly became a popular game in both family parlors and pubs.

A domino set consists of thirty-two tile pieces that represent all possible combinations resulting from throwing two six-sided dice. Traditional Chinese dominoes contain duplicates, while European domino sets are based on all rolls of the dice (without blank faces).

The name “domino” is derived from either Latin’s ’dominus’ or a hooded cape worn by French priests during winter, although other explanations have been suggested. Regardless of their origin, dominoes have become an essential part of the Latin American culture.


A game of domino begins with each player taking a single tile from a set of seven tiles. The players build a train, or line of dominoes, starting from the center tile and moving toward each other in a clockwise direction.

Taking turns, players extend the line with one matching domino at each end, joining it end-to-end. Doubles are also joined to the ends of the lines.

The winner of the round is the player who adds the most dominoes to their train. The player who empties their hand scores zero points, but the other players score the total number of pips on the dominoes left in their hands.

In most games, the player with the highest double tile makes the first play. If there is a tie, it is broken by drawing new dominoes from the stock.


Dominoes are a game of chance and strategy. They can be played by two players or several teams of four or more.

There are a variety of domino variations, all of which use the same basic rules, and many are very simple and fun. Here are a few of the most common:


This variant uses a double-six set and has all tiles face down. It is a very popular game in most parts of the world.


This is another very common game. It’s similar to Block, but players may draw more tiles from the “boneyard” if they can’t play any from their hand.


This variation is also similar to DRAW; however, the first tile plays creates a “spinner.” The spinner must be played on all sides before anyone else can play anywhere else.


A domino is a small game piece that can be made from many different materials. Some are made of wood, while others are made from plastic or ivory.

Some people use a set of dominos for playing games, and some make elaborate arrangements of them. This is called a domino show and can take minutes to hours.

In addition, dominos are often used in chain reactions and other engineering challenges. This is a good way to teach kids about cause and effect.

Most modern commercial domino sets are made of a synthetic material, such as polystyrene or Bakelite. These are often colored or translucent to achieve a contemporary look.


The scoring system for dominoes is based on the number of pips (spots) on the exposed ends of each player’s line. Typically, a player scores if the total of the pips on either end of their line is divisible by five.

This is a simple and reliable method that can be used without much training. Counting the exposed ends of all dominoes in your line of play gives you the total number of pips on each end.

It is important to remember that the number of pips on each of the exposed ends of your dominoes may be different than what is in the opponent’s hand. Therefore, it is also important to use blocking strategies as early in the game as possible to keep your opponents from scoring points.

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