# The Basics of Dominoes

Players take turns placing domino pieces on a game board. The player who has the most tiles at the end of a hand or game wins. The losing player’s tiles are counted and added to the winner’s score.

One of the best ways to win is by blocking your opponents. Try to use blocking strategies as soon as possible, especially near the end of a scoring game.

## Rules

Like playing cards, dominoes are a type of game with a variety of games and rules. They are characterized by an arrangement of spots or numbers on one face and blank or identically patterned on the other. They also have a line or ridge that separates them into two sections. Players draw the number of tiles that are specified in the rules for the specific game being played. After drawing the number of tiles, each player places them on the table in front of him. The player holding the heaviest tile begins play.

If a player does not have a tile that matches the end of a double, they may “knock.” They bang the edge of their domino or otherwise tap it with their hand to signal that they cannot play and thus forfeit their turn. The next player then takes their turn. The round ends when one player plays all of their dominoes. The winning player subtracts the value of his opponents’ dominoes and adds that to his own score.

## Variations

Dominoes are flat thumb-sized rectangular blocks, either blank or bearing from one to six pips (or dots) on each end. A set of 28 dominoes forms a complete domino set, and different types of games can be played with them.

Many domino variants have rules governing the line of play and the value of individual ends of tiles. In some games, doubles serve as spinners, allowing the line of play to branch. In other games, such as All Fives and Muggins, the goal is to make a multiple of five in an angular arrangement.

Most players draw a number of tiles from the stock before beginning their first hand. This is referred to as taking the lead. If a player can not play a tile, they “knock” or rap the table, and play passes to their partner. When the last domino is played, the players may discuss their own tiles but not reveal to each other the value of their opponents’.

## Materials

Dominos are small rectangular blocks of rigid material that are used to play games. They are also known as bones, cards, men, or pieces. Each domino has one face divided into two squares, with each half bearing from one to six dots resembling those on dice.

The most common type of domino is made from plastic, but sets can be produced in many different materials. Some are even made of natural stone, such as marble or soapstone. These types of dominoes tend to be more expensive than sets made of polymer materials, such as pressed cardboard or wood-based polymers.

There are also high-end wooden domino sets that feature the finest craftsmanship. They are often layered in several different types of woods and are finished with layers of lacquer. These are considered works of art and have hefty price tags. However, they are the preferred choice of those who want to play domino in style. They are usually stored in a narrow wooden box that is open on the long side.

## Scoring

There are a variety of scoring systems used in domino games. For example, in blocking games such as bergen and muggins, at the end of a hand each player subtracts the total number of pips on the remaining tiles in their opponents’ hands from their own. The winner has the lowest negative score.

The line of play in most domino games consists of a series of tiles laid end to end, with their matching ends touching (1s touch 1s, 2s touch 2s etc). When this line of play is scored, points are awarded if the exposed pips sum to a multiple of five or three.

In games that feature teams, each team’s score is calculated by adding up all of the players’ unused dominoes. In some cases, this total may be penalized if a player has a bloated hand and cannot add to other teammates’ trains. Other scoring methods are used in games such as Mexican train, and spinner domino.