Dominoes – Easy to Learn and Fun to Play


Domino is a fun game that can be played with family and friends. It is easy to learn and can be a great addition to your family game night.

A domino is a small rectangular tile with a patterned surface that is blank on one side and bears from six to twelve identifying spots, or pips, on the other. A complete set of dominoes contains 28 tiles.


Dominoes have a number of different sides that are either numbered or blank. They are arranged in a row on the table and each player must in turn place one domino on the table, positioning it so that it touches an end of another domino. This creates a chain of dominoes that continues to grow in length. The first player to get rid of all his or her tiles wins the round.

The game begins with the players drawing a domino from the stock to establish who will start. The winner of the previous hand usually starts the new hand, but this varies by game.

If a player can’t make a play (or cannot move their train) they “knock.” This means they bang the edge of a domino or otherwise tap it with their hand to indicate that they can’t go and that their turn passes to the next player. This is a simple way to prevent players from trying to block their opponents.


Dominoes come in a variety of materials, from inexpensive wood to specialized plastics. Some are very high quality and are considered works of art. They are usually twice as long as they are wide, and have a number of spots or pips on each side. The value of a domino depends on the total number of pips. A higher number of pips on a domino is called heavier than a lower number.

Different domino game variations have slightly different rules for the line of play. For example, some games require that the first tile be a double to allow players to build their own train, while others use special tiles called “spinners” that can be played on all sides and cause the line of play to branch. This leaves more value for the doubles and allows more chains to be built. Another variation is Matador, which has unusual rules for matching. Another popular variant is muggins, which requires that the sum of all open-end pips on the dominoes be a multiple of five.


Domino pieces are often made of a hard, thick material to prevent them from breaking. They are usually twice as long as they are wide, and each face is divided into two square halves, each bearing an arrangement of spots, commonly called pips, resembling those on dice. Each pips-bearing domino belongs to one of several suits: the suit of numbers, the suit of blanks or zero, and the suit of alternating black and white pips.

The most common commercially available set of domino tiles is double six, with 28 dominoes. Larger sets are available for playing games with multiple players or for long domino chains.

Modern mass produced dominoes are typically made of plastic, although wood and metal are also used for specialty sets. Some very high-end domino sets are handcrafted of fine materials and are considered works of art, often commanding a very high price tag. Felt domino tables are also popular for keeping the backs and faces of the pieces from scratching a table surface.


Most domino games involve the objective of emptying one’s hand while blocking an opponent’s play. Scoring is determined by counting the pips in losing players’ hands. Some scoring games, such as bergen and muggins, allow a double tile to be laid perpendicular to the line at the player’s option. Other scoring systems, such as sniff and 5s and 3s, are blocking games in which a first double played may be placed either endwise or sidewise.

The game can be played by two or four players. A cribbage board is useful to keep a running score, or the players can write their scores on paper. The winning player is declared when one player has played all of his/her tiles. The remaining unused tiles form the boneyard and are not counted in the score. An accumulated total score is then calculated by subtracting the value of each opponents’ dominoes from the winning players’ own. This score is then rounded to the nearest multiple of five.