Dominos are small wood or plastic blocks marked with a line or ridge on one side and a pattern of spots, resembling those on dice, on the other. They are used to play a variety of games.

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Game rules

Dominoes (also called bones, cards, men or pieces) have a pattern of spots on one side and are blank or identically patterned on the other. They are usually arranged in squares of varying number of spots, from zero to six. Each piece has a unique value depending on the arrangement of its ends. A domino with a value of seven has both ends with six dots.

Each player draws a hand of dominoes and places them in front of them. Players then draw from the stock until a domino with an opening double is found and played.

When a player cannot play a domino in his hand, he calls “out”, or “I win”. The game then ends for that round and the total value of the remaining pips on the other players hands is added to that player’s score. Then players reshuffle and start again.


There are a wide variety of materials used to make dominoes. Some are mass produced for games that require a high number of tiles and others are hand made by true craftsmen who take the time to create beautiful pieces. In some cases, the makers use multiple woods and layers of lacquer to create a stunning domino.

Each domino has a face divided into two squares, with each side bearing one to six dots or pips, like the faces of dice. These identifying markings are usually blank, but some of them have numbers or letters that correspond to a certain game. A complete set of dominoes consists of 28 such pieces.

Dominoes are often stored in small, narrow boxes that are open on the top and one side. This is so they can be stacked neatly and easily, which makes them easier to find when playing. You can also use these boxes to store a score sheet for particular games.


There are many variations of domino. Most of these are adaptations of card games and were used to circumvent religious prohibitions against the playing of cards. The most basic is a two-player blocking game using a double-six set. Pairs are made by connecting tiles whose pips sum to 12. In addition, any tile may be played adjacently to either of the open ends of an earlier tile.

The Block game is the simplest domino variant, and most characteristic domino games are elaborations of it. Initially each player draws seven tiles from the double-six set, and then places one on the table to start the line of play. The players then alternately extend the line by playing a matching tile at one end. The player who cannot do this passes.

Some versions have the players draw additional tiles from the bone yard until they find a match, while others have the player with the highest remaining pip count win. Some variants also have the player who can’t add a new tile to their train put a marker on it, stopping other players from adding to it.


The scoring system in domino varies from game to game. In most scoring games, the player that is able to play a domino that makes the total of the exposed ends on the layout divisible by five or three scores that number. The player who has the most points at the end of a hand wins.

Dominoes are typically twice as long as they are wide, making them easier to stack and re-stack after use. They are engraved with a line that divides them visually into two square ends with values from none to six pips. Doubles count as one for scoring purposes, while singles count as zero.

The most common set is double-six, although larger sets are also used for some games. The name domino may come from the hooded cloak worn together with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade. It may also refer to a piece of fabric used to decorate the top of a priest’s surplice.