The Basics of Domino

Domino is a game of skill and strategy. It is usually played with two or more people, and there are many variants of the game. It is played on a table with an arrangement of domino pieces, called tiles or bones. Each tile has a number of spots, or pips, on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. Each domino is also distinguished by a line or ridge that divides it visually into two squares, and the number of spots on each square determines its value, from six (or zero) to one or more.

Like playing cards, of which they are a variant, each domino has an identity-bearing face and a blank or identically patterned face. The numbers on the face of a domino are determined by its rank, which depends upon the number of pips on the dominant side and the number of blank or pips on the other. Counting the number of pips on each domino and awarding the winning player’s opponent the sum of those pips is the basis of most scoring games. The pips can also be used to distinguish between dominoes of different suits, which may differ in rank and value.

A domino set is a group of dominoes that are used to play games such as ‘Skip-A-Rope,’ ‘Beat the Clock,’ and ‘Dominoes’. The most popular commercially available sets are double-six and double-nine, though larger sets exist for use in games with more players.

In the game of domino, each player in turn places a tile on the table – positioning it so that its matching end touches an adjacent end of a previously placed tile or another domino, thus creating a chain of dominoes that gradually increases in length. The shape of the chain develops at random according to the whims of the players and the limitations of the playing surface, but it is generally assumed that a domino chain will eventually snake around the entire table.

The most common games are ‘blocking games,’ in which the object is to empty your opponent’s hand by blocking their moves. Players accrue points during the course of a game for certain configurations, moves, or by emptying their own hands. Some games also have a target score, and the player who achieves that goal wins.