The Basics of Domino

Domino is a game of skill that is played on the table. There are two major types of domino games: blocking and scoring.

A domino set features 28 tiles with a number on one end and a blank or zero on the other. Larger sets with more pips exist for players who enjoy longer domino games.


Dominoes are rectangular blocks used as gaming objects. They are made of rigid materials such as bone or wood, and can also be carved from ivory. They are sometimes called bones, men, or stones and are used in a variety of games.

The oldest domino sets have pips that represent the results of throwing two dice. They are known to have been used in China as early as the 1300s. Later, European domino sets incorporated progressively larger numbers of pips on each end. Today, there are domino sets with double nine, double 12, and even double 21 pieces although the latter are rare.

The game of domino appeared in Italy during the early eighteenth century and spread throughout Europe. The name “domino” comes from the Latin word dominus. It originally referred to the black cape worn by a priest over his surplice.


The rules of domino vary from one game to another. For example, the number of points awarded to the winner may be different, as well as how doubles and blanks are scored (a double-blank counts as zero or fourteen). The most common rule is that a player must play all their tiles before anyone else can make a move.

Players begin the game by drawing lots to determine who will play first. The player who holds the heaviest tile begins play by placing it on the table with its open ends facing upward. Once a domino is placed, it must be touched by a matching end to create a chain. Players are encouraged to call bogus plays when they notice them. This makes the game more interesting and prevents players from cheating.


Dominoes, also known as bones or cards, are pieces of wood with a line in the middle that divides them visually into two squares. The values of the ends of the domino are referred to as “pips” and may range from blank or zero (no pips) to six pips. The sum of these values is sometimes referred to as the rank or weight of a domino.

The simplest domino game is Block, which requires a double-six set and plays between two players. The first player places a tile that starts the line of play, and players alternately extend it by playing matching tiles on their own sides. If a player cannot extend their train, they pass. A train is considered public when a marker is placed on it, stopping other players from adding to it.


Dominoes are rectangular-shaped game pieces that have been made from a variety of materials over the centuries. Like playing cards, they have a line down the center which visually separates them into two square ends, and each end has a number represented by spots or “pips” that vary from six to none or blank.

Modern dominoes are typically made of plastic, but historically they were made from many different materials including stone (such as marble or granite); metals; wood; and even frosted glass or crystal. Felt, however, is the ideal material for playing domino because it prevents the tiles from scratching each other or damaging the surfaces they rest on. In addition, the felt surface makes it easier to keep track of scores and other information during the game.


Many games of domino are blocking games and a player’s score depends on being able to block opponents. In these types of games, at the end of a hand, the total number of outstanding tiles in an opponent’s hand is subtracted from their overall match score.

Normally, dominos are scored by summing the number of points on both ends of a domino exposed sideways, but this is not always the case. Doubles which are exposed cross-ways are also scored if the points on both sides of the double match (e.g., a double four touching a double two).

Each round of the game is played until a predetermined target score is reached or the players reach an agreed-upon point limit. The player with the higher score at that time is declared the winner of the game.