The Basics of Domino


Domino is a small, flat, rectangular block used as a gaming object. Typically, it is twice as long as it is wide and features a line in the middle to visually divide it into two square ends, or vertices. Each end may feature a number of dots, or pips, ranging from six pips to blank or none, depending on the game. When a domino is played, it triggers a chain reaction in which the rest of the tiles fall over one at a time. Dominoes may be arranged in straight, curved, or multi-dimensional lines and can be stacked on top of one another.

Many people play Dominoes for fun or as a game of chance, but they also are often used to create intricate designs, such as sculptures and structures. Professional Domino artist Lily Hevesh is known for creating incredible domino setups, and has amassed a huge following on YouTube, where she posts videos of her creations.

The most popular type of domino play falls into two categories, blocking games and scoring games. With blockage games, players place one tile edge to edge against another in such a way that the adjacent faces match or form some specified total. A line of these matching or forming tiles is called a layout, string, or chain. Usually, each domino placed must touch the open end of its matching tile (the one without pips) before the next player may place another.

Similarly, in scoring games, each player places a domino in such a manner that it forms an established amount of points. Traditionally, this was done by counting the number of pips on each of the losing players’ remaining tiles at the conclusion of a hand or game. Today, there are many different scoring methods used in domino.

In addition to the traditional domino sets made of wood, ceramics, or polymers, there are also a variety of sets fashioned from other materials. Some of these include stone (e.g. marble, granite, or soapstone); natural woods such as ebony; and metals including brass and pewter. These sets tend to be heavier in weight, and their unique material gives them a more sophisticated or luxurious feel.

Once a domino is set up, the first player must make the first play, which will determine the overall fate of the line. The person who makes this play is referred to as the setter, downer, or lead. This person is also responsible for determining the order in which the rest of the players will play.

Once the order of play has been determined, each player draws the number of tiles permitted by the rules of the specific domino game. Using the drawing process, each player then adds the drawn tiles to the dominoes in their hands. Any unused tiles remain in the stock, and are available for byeing later in the game, if allowed (See Byeing below). In some games, a player may draw a domino from the stock that is not yet part of his hand, but must play it as soon as possible afterward.