The Basics of Domino


Domino is a popular game that can be played in many ways. It is usually a two-player game, although it can be played by four or more players. It is a fun and challenging game that can be learned quickly.

In most domino games, a line of play is formed by playing tiles edge to edge. This arrangement produces matching numbers on the open ends.


Domino is a popular game that requires calculation and strategy. It has its origins in ancient Egypt and is also credited with having originated independently in Europe and China. The earliest known domino set was found in the tomb of Tutankhamen and is now in the Cairo Museum.

The word “domino” originally denoted a black hooded robe worn over a white surplice. It may have derived from the contrasting color of the domino pieces or from the hooded masks worn by Christian priests.

Domino games spread from Italy to France in the early 18th century and became a fad. They arrived in England later, possibly via French prisoners of war, and became very popular in traditional inns and taverns at that time. The thirty-two piece traditional Western domino set is designed to represent all possible combinations (or faces) of two thrown dice, so it has no blank faces.


There are several rules that must be followed to play domino. These rules help prevent cheating and ensure that the game runs smoothly. These rules also help to prevent disputes over what is considered a valid play.

The first player begins by drawing a domino from the stock. The player who draws the heaviest tile will make the first play. Then, players take turns placing their tiles on the domino line, which is called a layout or string of play.

When a piece is placed, it must match and touch the ends of any other domino that has already been played. This is called linking. Dominoes with matching ends count as one point, while those without are awarded two points. Depending on the rules of a specific game, some doubles may be spinners, meaning that they can be played on all four sides.


There are many different variations of domino, though most are elaborations of the two basic forms. The Block game is one of the most characteristic, and most domino games are derived from it.

Dominoes are identified by the arrangement of spots on their face. The identifying marks are usually on the front of the tile but can also be on its back.

Each player begins by laying a domino on the table positioning it so that its end matches the ends of an existing domino chain. The player then scores when the exposed points total a multiple of five. Then, all the open ends of that domino become eligible trains for other players to join. Normally, play stops when a player cannot add to the chain any longer.


Over the years, dominoes have been made from a wide variety of materials. Most modern sets are mass produced from plastics. Some are molded to look like traditional dominoes, while others are colored to make them easier to see.

Some of the older sets were made from natural materials, such as bone or silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl) with dark hardwood inlays, such as ebony. These were often made by prisoners of war to help pass the time.

Today, many dominoes are made from synthetic materials such as ABS or polystyrene plastics or Bakelite and other phenolic resins. Most modern sets also use color coding for the different end values-ones might have black dots, while threes might be green. They also come in a box to keep them organized.


In scoring games, players earn points during and at the end of play. The player with the highest total wins. The total is calculated by adding the pips on a player’s exposed ends (rounding to multiples of five). For example, if the player has a double-nine and two other dominoes with exposed ends, their score will be 25.

For a game to be played successfully, the player needs to keep track of their score. This is especially important if the game is played with partners. To do so, some players use a cribbage board or keep a running total on paper. This method also works well for block or drawing games. It is a good idea for new players to use a large, readable domino set that displays Arabic numerals rather than pips.