How to Play Dominoes


Dominoes are one of those classic toys that never seem to go out of style. They have stood the test of time because they can be used to play a variety of games, and they help develop number recognition and math skills.

Dominoes can be used to build shapes, lines, and patterns, or they can be placed in a circle to make an incredible domino clock. The possibilities are endless when it comes to domino creations, and there are countless YouTube videos of people creating amazing setups. There are even a few artists who specialize in making stunning pieces of art using this timeless game.

A domino is a small rectangular tile with a line down the center and numbers on each end. The most popular domino set contains 28 tiles, with one end displaying a number from 1 to 6, while the other end is blank. The blank sides can be ascribed any number, and in some games the blank side of a tile is considered “wild.” Generally, players draw their hand of seven tiles to determine who plays first. The shuffling process is often done with the tiles face down on a flat surface, and one player moves them around without touching any of them. The player who draws the highest double (or, if no double is drawn, the player with the most tiles in their hand) goes first.

When the first player places their tile on the table, they begin a domino chain by matching an end of their new piece to the exposed end of an existing domino. The next tile must touch another piece on its exposed end, and if that match produces a domino with any number divisible by five or three the player scores points. The remaining unused ends of the existing domino are then counted, and any doubles are laid at right angles to the line.

The rules of scoring for domino games vary among different versions of the game, and the winning player is the one who accumulates the most points in a certain amount of rounds. The points are usually awarded by counting the pips on opposing players’ tiles, though some games count doubles as one or two (if one, then a 6-6 counts as 12; if two, then a 6-5 counts as 14). Some games also award bonus points for playing a certain number of consecutive dominoes.

When playing a domino game, it is important to choose good dominoes—those that will have the greatest impact on your success. These might be projects that require a large chunk of your time, or it could mean picking the domino that will help you move other projects forward. Watch this video of Lily Hevesh, a talented artist who specializes in creating spectacular domino sets. She says that one physical phenomenon is key to her designs: gravity. This force pulls a knocked-over domino toward the ground and into the path of other dominoes, creating an impressive display.