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The Basics of Domino


Domino is a game played by placing small square blocks with matching ends. Players try to score by counting the number of dots in the exposed ends. Some domino games duplicate card games.

Hevesh’s most elaborate designs require hundreds of dominoes. When she flips the first one, it transforms from potential energy to kinetic energy, propelling the next domino over and creating a chain reaction.


Although there is evidence that domino games date back as far as 1120 CE in China, the European game did not emerge until 1700. It arrived in Italy first, and then made its way to France where it spread amongst French prisoners of war. The game then spread to England, where it became popular in inns and taverns.

The word domino is thought to be derived from the Latin ‘dominus’ or ‘master of the house’ and also may be a reference to a hooded cape worn by Catholic priests in France. The game is played all over the world and it is especially popular in Latin America.

The term Domino Effect comes from the idea that one event will cause another to occur, similar to how a domino falls when it is knocked over. This idiom is used in both political and business contexts.


There are some basic rules that apply to all domino games. These include placing a domino in such a way that it touches two matching sides. This arrangement is called a line of play. In most games, the first player to place a domino in this pattern starts. Players then take turns adding to the line of play.

The game ends when a player cannot continue playing. The winner is the player with the lowest value of spots in their unplaced dominos. Normally, this player receives the winner’s score for the round.

Before each game, the players shuffle the dominoes. This is usually done by shaking the tiles and moving them with hands. The players may take turns shuffling before each game or the same player may shuffle for each game.


There are many different domino games, but most of them fall into four categories: bidding games, blocking games, and scoring games. The rules for these games vary, and they must be agreed upon by the players before the game starts.

Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide and have an identifying mark on one side, called an “end”, and a blank or identically patterned opposite side. Their value, indicated by the number of spots or pips, ranges from six to none or blank.

The dominoes fall the way they do because they have potential energy, which is released when the tile is pushed over. This force is amplified by a chain of dominoes that are close together. In fact, a domino that is close enough to touch another will cause it to topple, as well.


Dominoes are made of rigid material and have a line in the center that divides them into two sides. One side is patterned with an arrangement of dots (known as pips) that correspond to the numbers on a die. The other side is blank or identically patterned. Dominoes are often affixed with labels that identify the manufacturer, such as a tobacco company’s name and logo.

The earliest dominoes were made of animal bone or ivory. Craftsmen in the 19th century adopted a material called “bois durci”—a type of wood sawdust mixed with albumen from eggs or blood—to make dominoes, dice and chess pieces. Later, they switched to tinplate, and then bakelite—a type of plastic invented in 1907 that was used up until the 1950s.

Today’s dominoes are usually made of cheap wood or common plastic. Some are made of a sturdier, more expensive natural material such as marble.


Dominoes are scored using a simple system of numbers. Each end of a domino has a value based on the number of dots or pips it contains. This value may be referred to as the rank or weight of the tile, with higher values being “heavier” than lower ones.

Before the game begins, players shuffle all of the tiles, and then draw one to determine who goes first. The player who draws the highest double is awarded a turn, while a blank or a double-blank scores zero points. After a player has played all of their dominoes, they score the total of their opponent’s remaining ends (rounded up to the nearest multiple of five). The winning player subtracts this value from their own hand to receive their final score.

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