How to Play Dominoes


The domino is a tile game that originated in China. It can be played in many different ways. In some versions, the player takes turns placing tiles on a pattern. In other games, the player chips off a piece and replaces it with another.

Typically, the set contains 28 pieces, but the number can vary. Some have no pips and others have six pips. They are made of dark hardwood such as ebony, ivory, or mother of pearl. They are usually twice as long as wide. There are several variations of the game, including the concentration variant, which requires players to reach a total of 12 pips.

The game can be played alone or with others. A number of domino games have different rules, but they are all similar. For example, to win a game of domino, one player must have the fewest number of spots on their tiles. Players must agree on a target score before the game begins.

If one player does not have a domino, he or she will draw a tile from a deck of unused tiles. This is sometimes called a boneyard. When a player loses his or her hand, the number of pips on the lost domino is counted. However, if the opponent has a tile that has pips, the number is still counted.

Dominoes are usually shuffled before play. Most are face down, though some are blank. They are marked with a variety of symbols, including a line and arrangement of spots.

Players then take turns laying their tiles on the table. The first player begins by laying down a domino on the center of the table. To add to the layout, players place tiles along the lines of the existing dominoes.

The next player must then lay down a tile that matches part of the first tile. If the second player can lay down a matching tile, he or she wins the game. Alternatively, the third player plays a vertical tile that produces open ends of four and five.

The fifth player plays a tile that produces a pair of doubles. Usually, the second and fifth tiles are played horizontally, but the second may be played vertically or horizontally. Depending on the rule, one or two additional tiles may be placed against the long side of the double.

When a domino falls, it starts a chain reaction. Each tile in the chain moves a certain distance. One domino may fall onto the other until the entire chain is knocked over.

The resulting chain is random, but the shape is determined by the limitations of the playing surface. Many European and American domino sets do not have Chinese suit distinctions. Other tiles in the set are blank, and other versions allow for tiles to be joined to all four sides.

The game can be played against a computer or CPU, or against a human opponent. The Domino game is most popular in Latin America.