The Basics of Dominoes


Dominoes fall into place because of a force called gravity. The force pulls a domino toward Earth and causes it to knock over the next domino.

The player who makes the first play in a game of domino is known as “the setter,” “the downer” or “the lead.” Depending on the rules of the particular game, he may draw new tiles from the stock.


There are many different domino games, and the rules vary from one game to another. Most of the games fall into four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games, and round games. There are also special rules for certain types of dominoes, such as doubles.

Before a game begins, it must be determined who will make the first play. This is often done by drawing lots, but may be decided by the seating arrangement or by the heaviest domino in a player’s hand. After the first player plays, play continues in a clockwise direction until one of the players is unable to make a play.

The winner is determined when the losing player’s remaining dominoes count to a multiple of three or five. Some scoring methods also include counting the pips on the exposed ends of the winning player’s dominoes. However, this is not a common practice. If a player notices that an opponent has made a bogus play, the offending domino must be called out.


A domino is a small, thumb-sized, rectangular block with one face bearing an arrangement of dots or “pips” resembling those on dice. The other face is blank or marked with a different pattern. A set of 28 such blocks makes up a domino game. Also known as bones, men, or tiles, dominoes are used to play a variety of games.

Domino sets are made of a wide range of materials. Modern mass-produced dominoes are typically plastic, although wood and metal have been also used.

Traditionally, dominoes were handmade from bone or silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), with dark hardwoods such as ebony. Tagua nut was also a popular choice for double-tile dominoes, as it could pass for ivory. Some wood dominoes are incredibly intricate, and many consider them works of art. These types of wood dominoes are often more expensive than standard domino sets. This is because they are often more durable and of higher quality.


There are many different variations of domino, each with slightly different rules. Some involve more than two players, while others are solo games. Some have special scoring rules. There are also a number of tricks and tactics that can be used to improve your game.

Generally, domino games are layout or tableau games, where players add matching tiles from their hand to a line in the middle of the table. These can be blocking games, where the goal is to empty your hand, or scoring games that depend on the configuration of a domino layout.

In a Mexican train variant of the game, the player who cannot play places a marker on their own train. This makes their train public and allows other players to add to it, or remove tiles from it. Players must then draw a new set of tiles for their hands when their current ones are empty. This means that a player’s trains can become very long as they play the game.


Dominoes are small rectangular blocks with two square ends, each bearing a number from one to six. There are 28 such tiles in a full domino set, and they can be played in different ways. Generally, the game ends when a player clears his or her hand of all dominoes and scores points. The player who wins the most points receives a prize.

Typical scoring methods in domino games depend on the type of game and its rules. In general, a single tile is scored by combining the values of its two end squares. When the resulting value is divisible by five or three, that score is added to the winning player’s total.

Players can also score in other ways, such as counting the pips left in the losing player’s hand at the end of the hand or the game. Normally, this count is rounded up to the nearest multiple of five. Dominoes may also be scored by counting the numbers of their pips or by comparing the numbers of their dots with those of other dominoes.

You may also like