The Basics of Dominoes

One of the simplest games you can play, dominoes involve laying down tiles on a line. A tile’s value is based on its number of pips on each side.

Dominoes can be played with a variety of rules. In most cases, the winner is the player who clears his hand of tiles.


Probably one of the most famous games around, dominoes have roots in both China and Europe. Like playing cards, they are a variant of dice but have an identity-bearing face and a blank or identically patterned other side.

The earliest references to dominoes date to the Yuan Dynasty, though the modern game appeared in Italy in the 18th century. It is believed that Italian missionaries brought the game to Europe from China.

There are many different types of dominoes – blocking and scoring games being the most popular. However, there are also solitaire and trick-taking variations that are based on these two main types.


Dominoes, also known as bones, tiles or men, are pieces of plastic or wood that feature a line in the middle to divide it visually into two squares. Each end is either blank or has spots from zero to six pips, depending on the domino’s variant.

A standard domino set consists of 28 tiles. It is also known as a double-six set because the highest-value piece has six pips on each end.

Before each game, players shuffle the dominoes face down on a flat playing surface. This ensures that they thoroughly mix together before drawing their hands.


The basic game of domino involves playing single dominoes in a line. Matching the value on one half of a domino to the one at the end of the line is the object.

There are many variations of domino, all of which use tiles with identifying marks on one side and blank or identically patterned squares on the other. Some variants also use triangle-shaped tiles instead of rectangular ones.

Most domino games are layout games, in which players add matching tiles from their hands to a line or layout on the table. Other games, however, are blocking games or scoring games in which the players score points by creating certain configurations.


Dominoes are small, rectangular-shaped game pieces made of a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, bone, and stone. They are normally twice as long as they are wide and have a number of pips on either side, which is used to identify each tile.

In the 19th century, dominos made from animal bones were popular. To help make the dots, or pips, craftsmen drilled shallow holes in animal bone and affixed thin pieces of ebony.

Then, in 1855, Charles Lepage invented a kind of plastic that was specifically made for dominoes. He called it Bois Durci and it was used to make dominoes, chessmen, and dice.


Scoring is the process of determining who wins a game of domino. In most games, the player who has the most tiles in their hand at the end of each round wins.

Several different methods of scoring have been devised for the game. One variant is Holsey and Tidwell’s X’s (also known as 5s-and-3s), which involves laying the dominoes end to end, in which if any of the exposed ends of any domino tile shows a multiple of five, the player gets that number of points.

Another version of domino scoring is the stitched up method, in which a player sets a tile with a number on both ends. Then the next player plays a domino with one number on it matching that number.