# The Basics of Domino

The domino set is a collection of tiles that each bear an arrangement of pips. These are used to identify each tile and are blank on the other side.

The game is played by drawing a hand of tiles and playing them in turn. The player who draws the highest double goes first.

## Rules

The basic domino rules are very simple. The game starts with the 28 tiles of a double six set being shuffled and placed face down to form a stock or boneyard. Each player draws seven tiles from this stock. Players look at the pips on their tiles but may not see the value of the pips on their opponents’ tiles. If they draw a double, it is placed on the line of play. This is called the lead.

As each player plays a tile, they must match it with a domino already on the board. The result is a line of play that develops a snake-line pattern on the table. Depending on the game, dominoes are joined end to end or cross-wise with the open ends being cut off for scoring purposes. The heaviest double is usually played as the lead. A player scores by counting the pips on the ends of the lines of play that he or she has not yet completed.

## Variations

There are a number of different variations of domino. For example, some games are played with an extended set, which increases the number of pips on the ends of the tiles. The most common extended sets are double-nine and double-12, although larger sets exist.

Another variation of domino involves counting the pips in losing players’ hands at the end of a hand or game and adding that amount to the winner’s score. This scoring method may also be used for other games, such as cribbage.

Another popular domino variant is Mexican train, which is typically played with a double-twelve or double-fifteen set of dominoes. The goal of the game is to build a long train of tiles, either a personal one or a public one called the Mexican train. Each player takes turns placing a tile on the table. The tile must be positioned so that it touches the first tile placed and matches an open end of another tile, either a double or a single.

## Materials

Dominos are a great way to develop children’s core maths skills as the games involve numeric patterns. They can also help with colour recognition, and the building of the dominos themselves requires precise hand movement and patience.

The modern domino sets come in a variety of materials from inexpensive, mass produced plastics to high end wood. The latter are often carved by a master craftsman from multiple pieces of wood, and will have a hefty price tag reflecting the time and artistry involved in their creation.

Some high-end sets are made from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted onto the surface of each domino. A few sets use a puck or special marker to identify a player as the bank in certain games, and in Trains to identify the end of a domino that cannot be played upon by any other domino.

## Scoring

Domino is a game played by placing dominoes on the table and then arranging them in a line or angular pattern. The number of dominoes in a player’s hand determines their score at the end of the game. In most games, the players try to get rid of all their tiles. The first player to do so wins.

In some games, the amount of points scored depends on the value of the dominoes in a player’s opponents’ hands. For example, a double with both ends showing a value of six pips is considered a spinner and scores more than a double with one exposed end.

The term “domino” is also used for a long, hooded cloak worn with a mask at a masquerade. An earlier sense of the word, however, denoted a garment similar to a cape worn by a priest over his surplice. Domino later referred to the playing piece, and still later to a variety of games in which these pieces are used.