How to Play Domino


Domino is a game that is played with small rectangular blocks of wood or plastic, each marked with dots resembling those on dice. Dominoes can be used to play a variety of games with either partners or in teams. The domino pieces are usually twice as long as they are wide, and can be stacked on one another to form a line of play. The ends of a domino are normally either square, or rounded, depending on the game rules. The numbers on each side of a domino, which are sometimes called pips, indicate its value. The values of the sides of a domino range from six pips to none or blank, which is sometimes called the rank. A tile with more pips on its ends is considered to be a heavier domino than a tile with less pips or a blank.

When a player plays a domino, it must be placed adjacent to other dominoes so that each pair of matching ends touch each other. The result is a chain that develops into a snake-line of dominoes. The ends of a chain may be square, round or flat, but must match each other in order to continue the chain. If a tile is played to a double that has not yet been touched, the new end must be placed perpendicular to the middle of the two matching ends.

Most domino games require that players draw the number of tiles they are permitted to take from the stock, depending on the rules of the game. The player who draws the highest numbered domino begins play. Some games also allow a player to bye, in which case the tile is not drawn but added to the dominoes a player holds.

Once a player has a set of dominoes that he or she is able to use, the first tile must be played on the left hand side of the table. If a player cannot play a tile in turn, the player “knocks” or raps the table and play passes to the next player.

The manner in which a player plays a domino is a big part of the fun. If a player plays a tile that results in the chain of dominoes showing one or more numbers that are useful to him, or distasteful to his opponents, the player is said to have “stitched up the ends”.

When a domino chain is tied, or reaches a point at which no player can proceed, the losing players’ total number of pips is counted. This number is added to the score of the winner of a hand or the winner of the game.

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