# The Basics of Dominoes

Dominoes are a type of tile with pips (or spots) on both ends. Each time a domino is played on the table it joins with a previous tile, creating a line that gradually increases in length. This is called the line of play.

Children learn essential friendship skills while playing a fun game of domino. The Ups and Downs, Four Ws, and Having Fun cards help them to understand and manage difficult friendship situations.

## Rules

When playing a round of domino, players count the total value of all the pips on the opponent’s tiles in their hands. The player with the lowest score wins that round. The winning player may be the first to eliminate all their tiles, or the last to play one. The game continues for as many rounds as the players agree to, until one player’s score passes 101.

Before playing the game, all dominoes are shuffled and a number of tiles is drawn by each player. The player with the heaviest hand takes the first turn and places the first tile on the table.

The rest of the game is played as in regular domino, with players matching ends of their dominoes to those of other dominoes and scoring points when all of the open ends of the line add up to a multiple of five. This is sometimes called the Draw game and can be played with a standard double-six set or a double-nine set of dominoes.

## Materials

Over the centuries, domino sets have been made from a wide variety of materials. Modern mass produced dominoes are primarily made of plastics, metals and woods.

The individual domino tiles are rectangular and feature a number on each face. They are usually twice as long as they are thick and stand on their edge when stacked. The numbering is either molded or inlaid. Dominoes come in many different colors and designs, though the most popular are white dominoes with black pips.

Each domino tile represents one of the possible outcomes of two thrown dice. The most common domino set is the double-six, which produces 28 unique tiles. Larger sets exist and are used for more complicated games or to accommodate more players. The most popular type of domino play is layout games, which can be played in two broad categories: blocking and scoring. A high quality domino table will feature a green baize surface, which is also the preferred playing surface for card tables, snooker and billiards. Baize provides a happy medium between grip and slide and helps to muffle sound as well.

## Variations

There are many different domino games, with varying rules. The basic instructions on this website apply to most of them, but not all. For example, there are some games where hands are not drawn, and others that are played by teams of players.

The heaviest double is generally used to determine the starting player in most games, although some allow other factors as well. The starting player then plays a tile, and subsequent players add tiles that have the same number of pips as the open end of the first played tile. This line of play is known as the lead.

Some domino games require that each player keep track of his or her total number of pips in hand. This can help prevent blocking and stalling. Some variations of domino also have a timer, which can be used to limit the amount of time a player may take per turn. A team score is then calculated by adding the sum of the pips in each partner’s remaining dominoes.

## Scoring

In many domino games players score by counting the dots (or pips) left in opponents’ hands. This scoring system is quick, reliable and easy to read. The player who scored the highest number of pips wins.

In most cases the first player in a round is determined by drawing lots or by the player who “dominoed” in the previous hand. In some cases, the first double played is referred to as the spinner and may be used to start a chain.

Other games have the winner determined by a count of all of the exposed ends of the dominoes in the players’ hands (rounded to the nearest multiple of five). This method is slower than other methods but it is reliable and easy to read. The players’ scores are then compared and the winner declared. In some cases, the rounds are predetermined or played until a specified point limit (usually 150 points) is reached. The game is over when one of the players runs out of dominoes and cannot continue playing.