The Basics of Dominoes

Dominoes are a type of game similar to playing cards. They are made of a variety of materials, including bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (MOP), ivory, and dark hardwoods such as ebony.

There are several variations of the game, each involving different rules. These games can be played with a single player, two players or more.


A domino is a small, flat tile with a number of pips (spots) on one end. It is used for various games.

Most domino games have similar rules, although some have different variations. Some are simple and others require more strategy.

The most common type of domino game is the standard or “block” game, which is played with a double-six set comprising 28 tiles. The aim is to place your dominoes end-to-end so that you can eliminate the least number of tiles from each player’s hand.

Another variation of this game is the “draw” game, which is based on the same principle as the block game. Players draw five tiles from a double-six set and place them so their ends match.

The game moves clockwise around the table. The player who drew the highest double usually plays first.


The game of domino is a wide-ranging genre of games that can be played with a variety of sets and tile sizes. Some variations of domino are based on matching suits, while others require you to score points based on the number of exposed ends in your line of play.

A player lays out a single domino on the table in accordance with the rules of the game being played. Then, play proceeds clockwise around the table.

Typically, the first player plays a domino, then the second player adds another one to a free end, and so on, clockwise around the table. At the end of the round, a player’s hand total is calculated and compared to that of his opponents.

Players can also shuffle the domino tiles before a game is started, thoroughly mixing them by moving them with their hands. The same person may shuffle for each game, or the player to the right of the one who made the first play can do so.


Dominos come in all sorts of materials, from wood to metal, plastic, and even stone. Baize is one of the best materials for a domino table because it is smooth and does not warp or wear over time.

Traditionally, dominoes were made from ivory or ebony with contrasting black or white pips. Today, though, ivory dominos are largely unavailable due to the illegal international trade of ivory.

A common alternative is vegetable ivory, a form of ivory that comes from the tagua nut, which is native to Central and South America. Although not as hard or close-grained as ivory, it is a similar material and was widely used until the early 19th century.

In the later 19th century craftsmen began to use a plastic that was invented by Frenchman Charles Lepage called Bois Durci. This was followed by Parkesine, a flammable plastic that scorched. Next, tinplate came into prominence. It was easy to stamp and emboss, and it was inexpensive enough that tobacco companies would give away sets marked with their logo.


The scoring system in domino is simple: the player with the largest score wins. Players shuffle the pieces and then draw one each from a pool.

The game is played in a clockwise direction. The player with the highest double usually starts, but it can be anyone’s turn.

Each player must place a tile onto the table positioning it so that it reaches one end of the domino chain, which is gradually increasing in length. The tile must display a number at either end of the chain and it may be worth your while to “stitch up” the ends to increase your score.

Most dominoes have a line across the middle that divides them into two squares, called ends. The number of pips on each side varies, but in the most common variant (double-six), it is possible to get a tally of six pips for a single, or a tally of zero pips for a blank.