How to Play Dominoes


Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks that have two groups of spots on one side. The other side is blank. When playing the game, a player takes turns adding dominoes to the platform. If a tile has a multiple of five dots, it counts toward the total of the player’s hand. However, if a tile has a single dot, it does not count.

Most games involve placing dominoes against each other. For a game of skillful dominoes, players are paired, with each partner trying to score the most points. There are different variants of the game, such as Mexican train, chicken foot, and matador. In addition to these common games, there are other types of dominoes, such as trick-taking domino games and solitaire domino games.

A domino game begins with a platform of 3 or 4 dominoes. Each player’s hand contains seven tiles from a particular set of dominoes. Whenever a player is able to lay a tile onto the table, he or she is to do so. After the first tile is laid, each player plays another, alternating with his or her partner. By the end of the game, the last player has played all the tiles in his or her hand.

Before the game starts, each player decides on a target number of points that he or she would like to achieve. This is usually 61. Other numbers are also used, such as 35. Depending on the version of the game, players are allowed to add additional tiles to the layout. Alternatively, tiles can be joined to all four sides of the dominoes. One version of the game requires both partners to chip out.

Before the first tile is placed, the player must determine which of the doubles is the heaviest. He or she can either lead the game with a double-five or a double-six. Normally, the lower number listed on the dominos is the one that leads. But, some games use the pips instead.

Next, the player must arrange the dominoes so that the ends match up. Two of the tiles must be placed on either side of the open end. Afterward, the next player must choose a domino and place it on the end of the chain that is connected to the first tile.

Usually, the first tile is the double-six. Those tiles are the “heaviest” dominoes in the game. Because they are the most difficult to place on the table, the player who leads with a double-six has the advantage over the other players.

During the game, each player tries to keep his or her opponent from laying any more tiles on the table. Once the player reaches a specific number of pips, the game is over. During the game, a player is referred to as a “choker.” Usually, a player will have to chip out the last few tiles on the table, preventing the other players from placing more.

Traditionally, European style dominoes were made of ivory, bone, or mother of pearl. Until the middle of the 18th century, they were made of dark hardwood, such as ebony. They were carved to resemble a priest’s hood or a mask.