Domino – A Game of Strategy

Domino is a game of strategy where blocking your opponents from scoring points can be as important as scoring yourself. Using blocking strategies near the end of a point game can give you a big advantage.

Domino artists set up curved lines and grids that form pictures when they fall. They also create stacked walls and 3D structures.


Dominoes are thought to have originated in China in the 12th century. However, their origin is uncertain. They bear an unmistakeable resemblance to ordinary spotted dice and may have been inspired by them or even by the numbering on clay tiles used for business accounting.

The name Domino is derived from the Latin dominus, meaning master, and it could also have been inspired by black domino half masks worn at Venetian carnivals, which resembled hoods on French priests over their white surplices. In England in the late 18th century, the game became popular in traditional inns and drinking taverns, possibly brought there by French prisoners of war.

Dominoes have become a global past time and are played everywhere from children to the elderly. They are especially popular in Latin America. Even the Inuits play a similar game, using bone Dominoes.


The game is usually played with a number of dominoes equal to the number of players i.e. two players draw 7 dominoes, three draw 5, four draw 4, and five draw 5. The remaining tiles form a boneyard. The player drawing the heaviest domino usually starts. If there is a tie it is broken by drawing new dominoes from the stock.

Each player then places a domino in the usual way, joining it to matching ends. Normally the ends of the domino should be touching fully but it is possible to play a double which shows both sides of its face.

When a player cannot play, he “chips out.” Then the players who have the combined sum of spots on their remaining dominoes are the winners.


Domino pieces are usually twice as long as they are wide and are carved from materials like bone, ivory, wood, or plastic. They are usually white with black pips and some sets have color dots to help players match them up.

Some of the early domino sets were made from vegetable ivory, a close-grained material called tagua nut that can look almost exactly like mammal ivory in structure and color. This was used by craftsmen for two hundred years to make dominoes, dice, and chess pieces.

Today, many dominoes are mass produced and made from materials like plastics, metals, or stone. They may be painted or engraved for aesthetic purposes. They also come in a variety of storage boxes which vary from cardboard to vinyl snap lock cases.


Domino games are played worldwide and have a wide variety of rules. Many of the games involve dominoes arranged in lines and angular patterns. The game can also be played with different scoring and layouts.

In a basic train variation players take turns placing tiles on their personal trains. They must match the value on one end of the tile to the value on another. If they cannot make a match, they must draw a domino from the bone pile or pass.

A number of other variants exist, including Matador and Bendomino. In these games, the rules differ for matching adjacent dominoes, and some have curved tiles that can block one side of a line of play. They also have special doubles that act as spinners and allow the line to branch.


Domino games fall into two general categories, blocking and scoring. Blocking games are played to empty a player’s hand, while scoring games involve placing tiles on the board to accumulate a total score.

The number of points a tile has determines its value and its place in the chain. A double has multiple exposed ends and can be placed in four directions, which is why it is also known as a spinner.

The winner of a hand receives the total points in his or her opponent’s hand, rounded to the nearest five. This is done by counting the number of spots on the exposed ends of each tile. This value is then added to the player’s score.