How to Play Dominoes


Dominoes are small rectangular blocks used in a variety of games. Most games are adaptations of card games. They are usually played in pairs or teams. The game can be played with any number of players, but most are designed for a double-six set. Some popular new party games use larger sets and can accommodate more players.

Dominoes are usually divided into two squares. The face of each domino is marked with a combination of pips and spots. Each of these features are arranged in a specific way, and the tile must be placed so that two matching ends are adjacent to each other. In some games, a single end of a domino may be open. Other games consider all four sides of the double to be open.

When playing a double, the two halves of the face are always perpendicular to each other. If the player has a double with the same number at both ends, it is called “stitched up.” A double with a 0 or 14 is considered a blank, and a double with two pips is a double. Depending on the version of the game, additional tiles may only be placed against the long side of a double.

The tiles are typically made of ivory, ebony, or mother of pearl oyster shell. The tiles are traditionally laid out on a pattern or a “mat.” During the 18th century, the dominoes were first made in Italy and France. By the late 1700s, they had spread to England and other European countries. They were brought to Britain by French prisoners of war, and they eventually appeared in the 1860s in American literature.

Traditionally, the tiles were made from dark hardwoods such as ebony or ivory. The pieces were also sometimes made of silver-lip ocean pearl oyster shell. Although the Chinese dynasties did not develop their own dominoes, they were known for their use of Pai Gow and Che Deng.

Before the game begins, the players agree on a target score for the team. This score is usually 61. For example, if the team’s goal is to beat a previous score by three points, each member of the team should pick seven dominoes from the stock. After picking the tiles, each player shuffles their hand and then draws seven dominoes.

Before each round of play, the player whose turn it is to lead must place a domino onto the table. Typically, the first tile is a double-six. The next player must match one of the two ends of the domino to a part of the first tile. Afterward, each player must add a tile to a line. Often, the number of tiles needed is determined by the total number of spots on the other side of the domino.

In some versions of the game, players must chip out the unused tiles. When all players have drawn their hands, the hand with the least spots is the winner. As the game proceeds, the line of play is extended clockwise. Players alternately extend their line of play, extending the game to its final stages.

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