How to Play Domino


A domino is a flat, thumb-sized block that is either blank or bears from one to six pips (or dots): 28 such pieces form a complete set. A number of games are played with such dominoes, generally by matching the ends of pieces and laying them down in lines or angular patterns.

The domino game is best played on a hard surface. It is also helpful to have a pencil and paper handy to record the progress of the game. If you are playing with more than one person, it is often helpful to designate a leader who draws and plays the first tile. Each player then draws the number of tiles he is entitled to according to the rules of the game and places them in front of him. The players then play their turns, with the first player placing a domino so that its open end touches one of the sides or ends of the previous domino. This configuration of dominoes is called a layout, string or line of play.

After a domino is placed, each player continues to place tiles so that their open ends are joined together to form a chain or row. The length of the chain is measured by the number of pips on the end of a domino that is touching another domino, as well as the total number of pips on the line of play.

Some domino games require the matching of ends to determine victory, while others use the total number of pips on the ends of a domino as the basis for scoring. A domino may be a spinner, which can be played on all four sides, or a double, which must be played only on two sides.

In addition to the traditional blocking and scoring games, some dominoes are used for positional play. In such games, each player sets up a row of dominoes edge to edge with one another so that the pips on the adjacent sides are identical or form a specified total. The next domino in the row must match this, and so on.

The first player to match all of his tiles is the winner of the game. The game can also be won by the first player to reach a predetermined number of points.

There are many variations on the basic rules of domino, and each variant is usually based on a different type of game or a different setting. The basic rule, however, is the same in all of these variations: A domino must be matched to a previous tile or a domino that matches in some way.

Although domino is not a difficult game to learn, it can be very challenging and exciting for experienced players to master. As the game grows in complexity, it is important for players to keep an eye on their score, so they can win the most points. The more experienced a player is, the better he will be at making the right decisions and moving his game forward.