The Basics of Dominos

A domino is a small rectangular block marked with groups of dots on one side. These dots are called pips. Dominos are used for playing many different games. Most domino games fit into one of four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games, and round games. Each of these types has different rules and objectives.

In a game of domino, each player in turn plays a tile onto the table positioning it so that one end touches part of another already played tile. The resulting chain of dominoes, which gradually increases in length, is known as the line of play. A player may only play a tile that matches the number on the open end of the previous domino. If a player plays a tile that has the same number on both ends (often this is considered a misplay and can result in the loss of a hand), the player must “stitch up” the ends of his line of play.

Most domino sets are made from polymer, a type of plastic that is durable and easy to work with. But domino sets can also be made from natural materials. These include bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl or MOP), ivory, and a dark wood such as ebony. Natural dominoes are more expensive, but they give a set a classic look.

When a person creates a domino art display, he can choose straight lines or curved ones, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, and even 3D structures such as pyramids and towers. When making a track, he must determine how many dominoes he will need. This depends on how long the track will be and the size of the structure. He can then draw a track on paper and mark where each domino will go.

Some domino games have rules that specify a seating arrangement for the players. Typically, the first player seats himself to his left and the rest of the players seat themselves in turn according to the order of their pips. If no seat is available, the players draw new tiles from the stock to break the tie.

A common way of scoring a domino game is to count the total number of pips on all the losing players’ remaining tiles and add this to the winner’s score. This method is less precise than other methods and requires a counting of the number of pips on each end of a double (for example, 4-4 counts as only four points). To eliminate the need to count the pips on the losers’ tiles, some players agree to use a simplified system that uses only one end of the double when determining the winning player’s score. This system is known as a ‘chipping out’ strategy. By this method, each player must chip out before the opponents are able to make their final moves. This prevents the opponents from building a large lead over the other players.