Domino is a game of skill and luck, played between two or more players. The rules for different games vary, but the winner is usually the player with the lowest score at the end of play.
Before the game begins, the tiles must be shuffled. Then each player draws a hand. The player who draws the heaviest double plays first.
There are many different games that can be played with a set of dominoes. However, most of them fit into one of four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games, and round games.
The most basic rule of any game is that a player must play a domino only if it can be joined to a matching double tile on the line of play, which is sometimes called the chain or string. The line of play is formed as each domino is matched with another, and is determined by the pips on the open end of each piece.
When a player can no longer play a domino, that player “chips out” and play passes to the next player. The winner of the round is determined by counting the number of total spots on the remaining pieces in each player’s hand. This number is then added to the winning players score. A variation on this method is to count only one end of the double (e.g., 4-4 counts as only 4 points).
Whether you’re an experienced domino player or an amateur, knowing what each tile is made of will improve your game. While it’s not important for most people, this information can make the difference between a fun experience and a frustrating one.
In the early days of domino, the tiles were carved from animal bones and ivory. Eventually, craftsmen discovered how to make the tiles from a more durable material: tinplate. This allowed the makers to stamp or emboss them with a logo, and also helped the domino companies advertise to their customers.
Today, the materials most common for making dominoes are cheap wood and common plastic. Specialty materials such as foam for giant yard dominoes or acrylic for premium sets are also used. Ivory is no longer used, as production has remained illegal since the international trade of elephants was banned in 1990. Exceptional domino sets can be made from marble, and these are often hand-carved by skilled artisans.
There are a number of variations of domino that can be played. Some of them, such as Matador and Muggins, have unusual rules for matching tiles. Others, such as Chicken Foot and Bendomino, use curved tiles that must be played on one side or the other. Some games also use doubles as spinners and have special rules for playing them.
Normally, players make their plays by placing a tile on the table with an open end that matches one of the ends of another already placed domino. This line of play is called a train and must be marked with a marker to prevent other players from adding to it until the player has a valid play.
The most basic variation is known as “the Draw Game,” and most characteristic domino games are elaborations of it. In this variation, each player draws seven tiles from a standard double-six set and begins the line of play by putting down a tile that touches a previous domino in one of its two open ends.
Some games require that the winner of a game be the first to reach a predetermined target score. This target score may be determined by counting the pips on the remaining tiles in each player’s hand or by playing to block until one player cannot play any more pieces and passes.
The scoring system for domino varies by game. In some cases, points are scored each time the sum of exposed ends on a domino that has been played is divisible by five or three. In other cases, a player is awarded points for the number of times five or three can be divided by the total of the end tiles.
Another way to determine who makes the first play in a game is to draw lots or allow the winner of the previous game to begin. Another method is to begin play by setting the heaviest domino. This is done by placing the highest double (assuming that it is not a spinner) at the head of the line of play.