# The Basics of Domino

Domino, also known as dominoes, is a game played with small rectangular tiles that have a value expressed by the number of pips on each end. The pips are separated by blanks.

After a hand has been shuffled, each player draws a set of seven dominoes. The first player plays a domino from his hand to start the game. The player who plays this first tile is referred to as the setter, downer or leader.

## Rules

The rules of domino vary slightly from game to game. For example, the number of players may differ and the method of determining who makes the first play can change. Some games are block games, meaning that no one can make a play until the previous player has finished their turn. Other games have different scoring rules.

The most common domino game uses a double six set. 28 tiles are shuffled face down to form the stock or boneyard. Each player draws seven tiles for their hand without letting the other players see them.

Then, each player turns their hands face up and counts the total number of pips. The player who has the lowest total is declared the winner of that round. They then add to their score the value of all the remaining pips in their opponents’ hands. This continues until one player’s score reaches 101 points or higher. All exposed ends must match i.e. one’s touch ones, two’s touch two’s and so on.

## Variations

There are many variations on the basic domino game. Some require a specific number of dominoes; others have unusual rules for matching or scoring. For example, Matador has curved tiles and has different rules for matching. Muggins is similar to Block, but it requires that the sum of the open ends of all dominoes played be a multiple of five.

Dominoes are marked with an arrangement of spots or pips, similar to those on dice, and have a line down the center that divides them into two squares. Each half of the domino has a value, and the total value of both sides is called the rank or weight of a domino.

The simplest variation is the Block game, which starts with 28 dominoes shuffled face down into a boneyard and then each player draws seven tiles. Each player then takes turns extending the line of play with one tile, adding it to the end of a double or making a cross-over with an existing double.

## Materials

Dominoes, also known as bones, cards or men, are rectangular tiles with a line down the center. Each side contains a number, indicated by an arrangement of dots called pips, ranging from six to 0 (or blank).

Modern commercial domino sets are usually made from polystyrene or other plastics; many use colored pips to differentiate different end values. In addition, natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony are sometimes used to provide an elegant look and feel to the sets.

The most popular type of domino set is the double-six set, which has 28 unique dominoes. Larger sets are available for games requiring more than one player or for those who prefer to build more intricate structures. These sets may include a double-nine, double-twelve or double-fifteen set of 55 dominoes. Dominoes are also used in art projects and as components of Rube Goldberg machines.

## Scoring

Dominoes are small rectangular wood or plastic blocks with a ridged surface on one side bearing an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. The opposite side is blank or identically patterned. Each domino is numbered on one end and has matching ends that touch, allowing the development of a chain. A blank counts as zero points. Doubles placed to an end of the chain must be positioned at right angles to that end so that the two matching ends touch fully. Each exposed end is counted and if the total is a multiple of five the player scores that number.

Play continues until a player is blocked, or no legal plays remain. The player or team with the lowest total number of dominoes held then wins the hand. If the player is blocked, they draw from the bone yard until they find a domino that can be played. Then they score the value of all the opponent’s dominoes held rounded to the nearest multiple of five.