# The Basics of Dominoes

Dominoes are like dice or playing cards, with a line down their middle and a number of spots–called pips–on each end. They can be blank or marked with a different combination of numbers from one to six spots.

A domino’s inertia keeps it standing up, but a little push can tip it over and cause the next domino in the line to fall. This process repeats until the last domino falls.

## Rules

Dominoes are a type of tile game. They are typically made from metals, plastics, or wood.

The basic rules of dominoes are simple: each player begins by drawing a domino from the stock. The first player to draw a domino (determined either by the lot or by who holds the heaviest hand) makes the first play.

If there is a tie, the tiles are returned to the stock and reshuffled.

Players then take turns placing the tiles so that their two matching ends are adjacent – unless a double is played, which can be placed square in any of the three directions as long as it touches fully at both its ends.

Once all the tiles are played, a chain of dominoes forms. The chains are often shaped like snakes, but they can develop any shape as the game progresses.

## Variations

Dominoes are a family of games that are played with a variety of different sets. Each domino is made of a tile with pips that have been arranged into a number of different patterns and may have other designs on them.

The most basic type of domino is called block and it is usually played with a double-six set (28 tiles). Each player draws seven tiles from the stock and then takes it in turns to place single dominoes in a line, matching one half of their domino to the one at the end of the line.

In straight dominoes, a variation of block, two to four players draw seven dominoes from a face-down boneyard and then take it in turns to lay domino halves end to end. When all the dominoes have exposed ends, the players score points.

Another popular version is muggins, which is similar to a regular drawing game but the open-end pips are counted in order to score. If a player can play a domino that makes the sum of the open-end pips on the layout a multiple of five, he scores that number of points.

## Materials

In the past, dominoes were made of a variety of materials including bone, wood, and ivory. However, in modern times, they are generally made from plastics.

Dominoes are shaped like rectangular tiles and are usually twice as long as they are wide. They are also made to be exactly half as thick as they are wide so they stand up well on a table without falling over.

Besides the standard plastics that you see in most sets, some are also made from stone and wood. These can be quite nice and are more expensive than the plastic types.

While they are not as popular as the plastic versions, these can still be found in stores. They come in a variety of styles and are often sold as works of art.

## Scoring

Scoring is an important component of domino, as it allows players to accrue points during game play. There are several scoring systems used for the game, including variations of the draw and ‘hector’s rules’.

One system involves counting the open ends of all the dominoes on the layout to determine if they total any multiple of five and awarding a point for each of those multiples. This is done by a scorekeeper who notes the count at every turn of play and keeps a running score.

Another system involves taking the pips on the tiles left in the hands of the losing players at the end of a hand or game and adding that number to the winner’s score. This is a more sophisticated method than the previous system, and requires players to agree on the rules before it can be used.

A final system involves playing a domino which makes the most number of windows on the layout and is worth the most points. This is called the ‘hector’s rules’ and is popular in Singapore.