The Basics of Dominoes


Dominoes are a versatile gaming device that can be used to play a wide variety of games. There are many rules and strategies to learn in order to maximize your score. One important concept to grasp is the scoring method. There are several ways to count domino points, but the most common is by taking the total number of pips left in the losing player’s hands at the end of a hand or the game. This number is then added to the winner’s score. The scoring method should be agreed upon by the players before the game begins.

The word domino is derived from the Latin word domini, meaning “he who rules.” The first recorded use of the term was in a political column written by American journalist Alsop in 1939. He described the spread of Communism as a “domino effect.” The term soon entered common usage, describing any situation in which one small trigger can lead to a chain reaction that continues to grow and impact other areas until it is no longer controllable.

A set of dominoes consists of a series of rectangular tiles with pips on all six sides. There are different types of domino sets, but the most common are double-twelve (91 tiles) and double-nine (55 tiles). Most dominoes are arranged in a square or a rectangle, but there are also some round sets.

When a player draws a domino, they must put it face up in the middle of the table. Then they make their first move by placing a tile edge to edge against another domino in a line, either a single or a double. The two tiles must match in color or value, or they must be joined together with matching ends, such as when the 3-5 and 5-1 tiles are played together.

If the first player doesn’t have a domino that matches, they must draw from the stock until they do. This is known as making a misplay, and it can be penalized in some games. A player may also be penalized if they make a mistake before the other players can correct it.

Some players have a specific way of selecting the first domino they will play, but most simply choose the heaviest tile from their boneyard. Then they place it on the table, if applicable. The heaviest domino is sometimes called the set, down, or lead.

If you want to see some amazing domino art, watch this video of a 20-year-old woman who builds incredible domino structures for movies, TV shows, and events. She has worked on projects that involve hundreds of thousands of dominoes. Her creations often take nail-biting minutes to complete, and they all depend on a few key physical principles, especially gravity. Hevesh uses her knowledge of these principles to create stunning domino setups that are the perfect blend of art and science.