The Basics of Dominoes

When the domino tiles are shuffled, each player draws a number of dominoes that they can play. The player who draws the highest domino will make the first play. This is called the set, the down, or the lead.

Standing dominoes upright gives them potential energy based on their position. When they fall, much of this energy is converted to kinetic energy.


Dominoes have a long history and have become very popular. The game started in China during the 12th century, and then moved to Europe in the early eighteenth century. It became very popular in cafes throughout the 1700’s and 1800’s. The word domino is believed to be derived from the black with white hooded cape worn by priests in European masquerades.

There are many different claims to the origin of dominoes, but most of them are legend and can not be taken seriously. One claim says that a Chinese statesman invented the game in 1120 AD. Another says that a heroic Chinese soldier named Hung Ming (181 – 234 AD) invented it to keep his soldiers awake during night watches at camp. A single domino was found in the wreckage of the Mary Rose, but it seems to have entered Europe much later.


Dominoes are shuffled and each player draws one domino. The winner is the player whose total number of dots on his dominoes is less than that of the other players combined. The value of a double may be counted as either one or two (as agreed upon before the game begins). Double-blanks are counted as zero points.

The heaviest double usually starts the first hand, or in the case of a tie the winner of the previous hand begins play. When a double is played it cannot be joined on its sides, but only at its ends. Bogus plays must be called as soon as a player notices them. If there is a disagreement about a call a UDL Official must be consulted to resolve the issue.


There are a number of variations on domino, including games that focus on scoring particular configurations of the layout. Some are shedding games, where players’ goal is to minimize the number of unplayed tiles in their hand when play ends.

Dominoes typically feature a line down the center to divide them visually into two squares, called ends, and are marked with an arrangement of spots or pips on one side. The other side is blank or identically patterned. The value of each end is usually indicated by the number of pips it has.

A tile placed to a double must be placed perpendicularly to it, so that the two matching sides touch fully. This enables the chain to branch out in three directions. This variation makes the game faster and more fun.


Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks of wood or plastic that are used in games. They are also called bones, cards, men, pieces, or tiles. They are normally divided visually into two squares, one with an arrangement of spots, or pips, and the other blank or identically patterned.

Dominoes help children develop core maths skills by allowing them to practice counting, matching, and sorting. They also improve motor coordination and patience. Depending on the type of game, domino sets may even help kids learn about number patterns.

In the 19th century, basic aluminum and tinplate became popular materials for domino racks and tiles. These materials are still in use today. They are smoother and more consistent than those from Maria Lamping and are well-suited to building all types of lines and fields.


In many domino games, players try to empty their hands by blocking opponents and scoring points. A player’s total score may be determined by counting the pips in their opponent’s hand, or a more complex method. Some games use more readable Arabic numerals on the tiles to make this process easier.

A common scoring system involves adding up the number of times a domino’s exposed ends add up to a multiple of five. This is often used with domino sets that have a double with exposed sides that can have chains played from both of them. This type of game is sometimes called Muggins, Spinner Dominoes or Five Up.

A variation of this scoring system is used in 5s-and-3s, a domino game that is popular in British pubs and clubs. Each time a pair of players attaches a new domino to the end of a chain, one point is scored.