The Basics of Domino

Domino is a table game in which players place domino tiles edge to edge against each other. Each tile has a number displayed on one side and blanks, called pips, on the other. Most domino sets consist of 28 tiles, though larger ones are available and are popular for games involving several players or for players who wish to create long chains of dominoes. In most domino games, the first player to place all of his tiles wins. The rules of the game define how to determine who plays first, and there are many variations to this rule.

In some games, each player has the opportunity to buy additional tiles from the stock – a set of tiles the players have the option of drawing according to the game’s rules. The player who draws the highest double or single takes the first turn. In the event of a tie, players draw new tiles from the stock until one player has a high enough tile to begin play.

Each player begins his turn by placing a domino in front of him. The next player then places a tile onto the domino chain, either by playing it into a space already occupied by a domino or by placing a tile to an empty spot. A domino may be placed in a line of play only if its matching end is adjacent to the starting point of the line of play, unless the tile is a double. A tile played to a domino must be placed squarely so that the two matching sides are touching fully.

A winning player is determined by counting the number of pips on tiles left in his opponents’ hands at the end of a hand or game and adding them to his score. Some scoring methods require that all tiles be accounted for, including doubles, while others count only the number of pips on the winning player’s tiles (i.e., a win with five-to-four counts only four points).

Some domino games have specific rules about the order in which players must play tiles. Some of these games are known as positional games. In these, each player in a domino chain positions a tile of his choice so that it forms a number showing on both ends of the chain or some other total. Then each player plays a tile so that it connects to the previous player’s tile and adds to the total.

Some players make domino art, designing intricate tracks that are arranged to create images when they fall. Artists like Hevesh, who helped set a Guinness record for the largest circular domino display, start their creations with a theme or purpose in mind. They then brainstorm images or words that are relevant to the theme and plan out how to arrange the dominoes. They might choose to build straight lines, curved tracks, grids that form pictures or walls and even 3-D structures like towers and pyramids.