The Basics of Domino


Domino is a game where players try to collect pairs of identically-patterned dominoes (also known as tiles, bones, cards, men or pieces). Like playing cards, dominoes are divided into two squares, called ends. Each side of a domino features a line or ridge marking the tile’s identity. The pips or spots on each side of the domino (also called “spots”) range from six to none, depending on the variant.

Playing a game of domino is easy, but it takes practice to master the rules. First, the table is set up with dominoes arranged according to a pattern. Next, each player draws seven dominoes to place in their hand.

Once each player has drawn his or her dominoes, the player who drew the highest double plays first. The player who drew the second highest double plays third, etc. The next player tries to match the first players’ dominoes with the second players’ dominoes, until one of them is matched with the last players’ dominoes, or one of the first players has a double that can be played.

The player whose dominoes are not matched is not allowed to play, and the last player to have a double is the winner. However, some games require both players to chip out to win, or to prevent a draw in which the first player has a double that can be played but no one else does.

In the most common domino variant, double-six, pairs of tiles consist of any two tiles whose pips sum to twelve. For example, the 3-5 and the 0-4 form a pair; in some variations, doubles can only form pairs with other doubles.

There are several variations of the game, including layout games in which a single row or column is created from dominoes laid face down. Other variants include trick and trump games in which a player can score points by laying dominoes to make certain configurations.

Most games involve collecting pairs, either by turning over the tiles and exposing the tally or by removing the tiles that are a tally away from a set number. Some games allow players to take sleeping tiles as well.

Some variants of the game require that the player place a tile so that the two matching sides are adjacent, and other variants involve placing the tile cross-ways across the end of the chain. This enables a double to be played across the chain from its beginning or from its middle, and also allows a tile to be played on a corner to form a tally that can be placed in the middle of the row or column.

Besides being entertaining, dominoes are useful as a teaching aid for children and adults. They teach the concepts of symmetry and order, and can be used to help explain the differences between opposites.

They are also a useful way to introduce the concept of momentum. The energy of a knocked-over domino is transmitted to the next domino, pushing it over in the same direction.