Domino Basics


A domino is a small, rectangular block with one or more ends bearing a number of spots (pips) or a blank face. A set of dominoes consists of 28 such blocks.

When Hevesh creates her mind-blowing domino installations, she relies on the laws of physics. When a domino falls, its potential energy converts into kinetic energy—the energy of motion—which pushes the next domino toward its tipping point.


While dominoes have many variations, they all have similar core rules. The game is usually played until one player has no more dominoes to play, or when all players cannot find a domino to move. Once this happens, the winning player is decided by counting the value of the pips on each player’s remaining dominoes.

Each turn a player must draw a domino from the stock that is able to be played and then place it on the table, positioning it so that it touches either end of an existing domino chain. Then the player may continue to place tiles, creating a chain that develops into a snake-line.

Most domino games are blocking games, where the objective is to empty one’s own hand while blocking the opponent’s. To determine who will make the first play, the game may be started by drawing lots, or by having the winner of the previous game start the next. The heaviest domino (double or single) also initiates play in some games.


Dominoes have a front with numbers represented as spots, or pips, and a back that is blank or decorated. The domino pieces are normally twice as long as they are wide. The pips may be molded or drilled. The pips may be in a uniform color, or they can have different colors or patterns.

Most modern mass produced dominoes are made from cheap plastic or wood. Ivory was once used but is now illegal. Wooden dominoes are slightly cheaper than their plastic counterparts but they are not suitable for building complex line constructions because they lack the necessary weight for stability.

Teachers can use a set of dominoes with students to demonstrate addition, especially the commutative property. They can provide blank domino grids that match the number value of a set, for example double six. Then they can ask the students to copy the pattern of dots on each domino. They can also ask the students to add the total number of dots on all the dominos.


Dominoes have been adapted to many different games and variations. Generally, these games share common characteristics: a set of 28 dominoes is shuffled to form a stock or boneyard, from which players draw seven tiles. The line of play is extended by each player by adding a tile that matches an adjacent one on either end of the domino. Those who cannot match a tile pass, and the winner is the player with the lowest remaining pip count. Some variants, such as matador and bendomino, use curved tiles that act as spinners.

Each domino has a number of pips on both ends (also called “points”). These values may range from one to six, with zero or blank sides also possible. The standard set contains 28 unique pieces that allow for six-sided dice, allowing for a total of 28 different combinations of ends. However, larger sets are often used that increase the maximum number of pips per end by three. This results in a maximum of 55 or 91 unique dominoes.


Domino is a popular game that can be played by two or more players. There are many different rules and scoring systems for domino games, but the basic goal of all is to get rid of your tiles. The first player to do so wins. The score can be as low as 10 points, or as high as 200 points depending on the game-type and setting.

One way to score domino is by laying tiles end to end. The exposed ends of the tile must match (ones touch ones, twos touch twos, and so on). If the pips total any number that is a multiple of five, the player scores that amount.

Another way to score domino is by adding up the value of a tile. This is often done in the Mexican Train variant. This method of scoring is not as good for new players, since it requires a lot of math in their heads.