# How Do You Play Dominoes?

Most domino games fall into one of four categories. They can be blocking games, scoring games or a combination of both.

Dominoes have a number on each end, referred to as spots or pips. The value of a domino is the sum of these numbers.

A player scores by subtracting the value of his opponent’s remaining domino tiles from their total. The winning player may then draw new dominoes from the boneyard or chickenyard to make the next play.

## Rules

While many different domino games exist, most follow a similar pattern. A player begins by laying a domino face up in the center of the table. Then he takes another tile and places it so that its two matching ends touch each other. This creates a line of play and a domino chain.

If a player cannot make a play, he passes the turn to the next player. The first player to remove all of the obstacles from his line wins the round. The winner scores the value of the dominoes in his opponents’ hands.

Before starting, players should decide on a score goal – most variations of the game are played until one player scores 101 points or more. In addition to scoring, players should establish rules about pencil whooping and other aspects of the game. Players should also draw extra tiles from the boneyard if they can’t use their own. This allows them to play their own dominoes when they are blocked.

## Variations

In domino, a tile is set (also called “the down,” or “the lead”) when it covers two arbitrary board squares with its pips. Players then add other tiles to the line, ensuring that each new domino matches one end to a free side of an already-played tile.

The game varies widely, and the rules of each variant must be agreed upon by the players. The player who reaches a target score (typically 100 or 200 points) wins. There are also multiple scoring methods, including counting the pips on the losers’ remaining tiles at the end of the hand or game.

Many popular games begin with players drawing a number of dominoes, typically seven. A double may be played at a right angle to the line of play as a spinner, allowing new tiles to be added on its open sides. Other rules include the requirement that all sides of a double be occupied before new tiles can be placed on it, and the use of curved tiles.

## Materials

There are many different materials used for dominoes. Some are made of bone or ivory, but the majority are made from common plastics. Some have colored dots to help distinguish the different types of dominoes (one-spot might be black, two-spot is green, and three-spot is red).

The best place to play domino is on a felt surface that prevents the tiles from scratching the table. Some games require a special box for scoring or a sheet with the rules for specific games.

The earliest sets were made from animal bones and ivory, which were both readily available materials at the time. More recent sets were often carved from vegetable ivory, which was obtained from the Tagua nut and closely resembled mammal ivory in color and structure. Other early sets were tin-plated, and later tin-plate was replaced by bakelite, a form of plastic invented in 1907 that was manufactured until the 1950s. Many modern sets are sold with a storage case.

## Scoring

The player who wins a game of domino is determined by the number of points scored. The total is calculated by counting the exposed ends of dominoes as the line of play builds. Some games use all of the pips on the open end of each domino to determine the count, while others may not. A double with the same value on both sides is called a spinner, and is played at a right angle to the rest of the line.

Players may add tiles to other trains (called a “train”), but there is usually a limit of one tile per train. If a player cannot add to their own train, they draw from the boneyard until they can. If an obstacle is blocking a player from adding to their train, it can be removed by placing a marker on the train. This makes the train public again, and other players can now add to it.