What is Domino?

Domino is a game of matching adjacent dominoes edge to edge. The value of a domino is its number of dots (also called pips). A tile with a higher number on one end may be considered heaviest, while a blank tile is the lightest.

Each player takes turns laying a single domino, ensuring that its open ends match with those of the previous tile. This creates a chain that develops snake-like according to the players’ whims and the limitations of the playing surface.


Dominoes are similar to playing cards and dice in that a variety of games can be played using them. Their origin is debated, but they probably came from China in the 12th century.

The word domino is thought to have come from the Latin dominus, meaning master of the house. It has also been suggested that it comes from a hooded cape worn by priests (it is black with white lining).

European dominoes first appeared in Italy in the early 18th century and spread throughout Europe. The game arrived in England in the late 1700s, possibly via French prisoners of war, and became popular in taverns and inns. The game later gained popularity in the US and other parts of the world. Dominoes are still very much a coffeehouse game today and many people enjoy playing them with friends over a cup of tea or a beer.


The value of a domino is determined by the number of pips on its two square ends. Each player draws a hand of tiles that are placed on-edge, so each can see their own, but others cannot see the value of their own hands.

During the game, players take turns linking adjacent dominoes with chains of dominoes. Most games allow only one tile to be played on a double, but some rules consider the initial double to be a spinner that can be played on all four sides (it is important to mark these on your score card).

Winners are awarded points based on the total value of the opponents’ unsplayed dominoes. The first player to reach an agreed upon number of points, such as 150, wins the game.


Many different types of domino games are played. The most basic requires a standard double-six set of 28 tiles, shuffled to form a stock or boneyard from which players draw seven tiles. They then take turns playing these tiles, positioning them so that their open ends line up with a previous tile that has already been laid.

Dominoes normally have a pattern of spots on one side and are blank or identically patterned on the other. This arrangement is referred to as the “value” of a domino. A domino with more pips has a higher value than one with fewer pips.

Several different scoring methods are used to determine the winners of a game. For example, some rules require players to count the number of pips remaining in their opponents’ hands at the end of the hand or the game and add this to their score.


In domino, players need to develop strategies to win by maintaining the initiative and scoring. These skills help them reduce stress and enjoy the feeling of winning. They also learn to avoid cheating or allowing their opponents to score before they can.

In the 19th century, basic aluminum and tinplate became popular as materials for making domino racks and tiles. This was followed by Bakelite, a phenolic plastic developed by Leo Baekeland, which became the standard for domino manufacture in the 20th century.

The most common material for modern dominoes is plastic, but there are some sets made of wood and stone. Modern sets are usually molded or drilled to create the uniform dots, called pips, that identify the end values of each domino.


In domino scoring, each player scores points based on how many of the open ends of the layout add up to a multiple of five. A player may only play a tile onto the domino layout that makes both of its open ends total to a multiple of five. This number is called the edge score. Each domino has two square ends, each of which can have a different value (ranging from zero to six pips). Dominoes with the same number on both ends are called doubles.

A domino game is considered won when all of a player’s opponent’s tiles are played out, or when the winner has reached a certain set score. This score is usually rounded to the nearest multiple of five.