The Basics of Domino


Domino is a game played with small wooden blocks that feature spots resembling those on dice. The game can be played by two or more players.

The dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide and have two opposite ends that show either a number or a picture. The game is won by the player who has the highest total value of pips in his or her winning domino chain.


There are many variations of domino but they all share the same basic rules. Each player starts the game by drawing a hand of tiles from the stock. Then they begin play by placing a domino with matching ends on the board (ie one’s touch two’s). If no players are able to make a play, the game is blocked and that round is over. The players then count the total value of the remaining pips in each opponent’s hands and the winning player is declared.

Before each game, the tiles are shuffled thoroughly by moving them with your hands. Some games require that the winner of the previous game start the new hand and others say that whoever draws the heaviest double begins play. If no one has a double, then the player with the heaviest single begins play. Any unused tiles are discarded. Occasionally, players may draw more dominoes than they are allowed to in a particular hand. These extra dominoes are known as an overdraw.


Besides wood dominoes, you can find sets made from many other materials. Some are quite beautiful, and these are the types of sets you will find in a specialty store. They are usually crafted by skilled craftsmen and have a high price tag to reflect that fact. Until the 19th century, the most common material for dominoes was tinplate and basic aluminum. This was followed by Bakelite which dominated manufacture until the oil-based plastics became popular.

Dominoes are small rectangular blocks that feature a line down the middle and are divided visually into two squares. One of these squares features an arrangement of dots (called pips) that resemble those on dice. Each domino has a value which is indicated by the number of pips on each side.

The other side of a domino is blank or may have a pattern that matches the color of one of the pips. Most players hold a set of dominoes in one hand, stacking them on top of each other. Larger sets are often supported by a tile rack which can hold several dominoes in the air at once.


The most basic domino variant, known as Block, requires a double-six set from which each player draws seven tiles. Players then start a line of play by placing one tile on the table. The goal of each player is to extend this line by adding a domino with matching pips at one end or another. A player may pass if he or she cannot add a new domino to the line of play. Players score points when the total of exposed pips on a played domino or two ends of a spinner is exactly divisible by either five or three. Counting exposed dominoes and those remaining in a hand helps players make informed decisions.

Some games also use a special double-sided domino that can be used as a’spinner’ to allow the line of play to branch. The heaviest domino in any player’s hand leads. In some variants, players draw new hands if they can’t play their dominoes.


The scoring system in domino varies depending on the rules of each game. Most games award points for connecting a tile to another so that the exposed ends match (one’s touch one’s, two’s touch two’s). In some cases the sum of the exposed ends is divided by five or three and the player scores that number of points.

The earliest incarnations of the Domino Theory relied on the “prestige” interpretation, which asserted that Communist revolutions in some countries would provide moral and political support to revolutionary forces in other countries, even if they failed to bring them into power. This was illustrated by the Malayan Emergency, the Hukbalahap Rebellion in Indonesia and the increasing involvement of Sukarno with communists in Indochina.

In teams, the scoring system is similar. Each player subtracts the pip value of the remaining tiles in their hands rounded up to the nearest five from their running total. The first team to reach an agreed upon score wins the round.