# What is Domino?

Domino is a game played with small rectangular blocks, each bearing an arrangement of dots or pips like those on dice. A complete set of dominoes consists of 28 such pieces.

Players play their tiles by matching their open ends to the open end of a previously played tile. The resulting line of play is called the layout, string, or line of play.

## Rules

The first player places his domino onto the table – this is known as “setting” or “putting down” a domino. The domino placed should be a double to allow players to play a second tile on top before the next player takes his turn.

The next player then matches one of the ends of his tiles to a side of the central domino. This creates either a personal train or, depending on the game variant, a public train. If a player has no matching tiles to place, he must draw from the stock and place these in his hand.

When a player cannot take his turn because he doesn’t have any matching tiles, he “knocks.” This means that he bangs the edge of a domino with his fist or other object to notify the opponents that it is his turn. In the case of a knock, the player is not allowed to make another move and his turn passes to the next player.

## Variations

There are many variations to the domino game, but all use the same basic rules. Players score points by accumulating multiples of five. A double six, for example, earns the player twenty points. The game is played using a standard set of dominoes, such as the double-six set. The blocks are stacked on top of each other to create a pyramid shape.

Some popular domino variations include Matador, where the goal is to play a number that adds up to seven and Mugggins, where the goal is to make the sum of the open-end pips on the board a multiple of five. Another variant, Chicken foot, is played with a special double-nine domino set and offers an added challenge for the players.

In the block variation, each player starts with a double and passes if they cannot play a tile. This makes it possible to create chains with more branches, making it a faster-paced game.

## Materials

Traditionally, domino pieces are made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or dark hardwoods such as ebony with contrasting black and white pips inlaid or painted. In modern times they may be manufactured from a wide range of materials including plastics, metals and stone.

There are many different games which can be played with a set of dominoes, and they are generally divided into two categories – blocking and scoring games. Stacking the tiles and making them fall over is a great way to develop hand eye coordination, and it also encourages mathematical reasoning.

A set of dominoes consists of 28 identical rectangular blocks, each bearing either blanks or numbers on their faces. The number of dots or pips on a domino determines its value, and there are several different suits of dominoes: one to six pips, zero, or blank. Dominoes are usually twice as long as they are wide.

## Scoring

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The game is won by the player who can empty their hand of all but one tile and whose total score on all ends exceeds a specified number. In addition, the winning player must block their opponent’s scoring opportunity by playing a double tile.

Some players subtract the total spot value of all outstanding tiles from their own running total, rounded to the nearest five, in order to calculate their score. However, this method does not work well for the X-style scores used on cribbage boards or Holsey and Tidwell’s X-shaped points. Moreover, it can be confusing for beginners. A simpler system is used by some players, in which the sum of all spots remains in the opponent’s hand is added to the dominoing player’s running total.