The Basics of Dominoes


Dominoes are small, flat tiles with a numbered arrangement of spots (or pips) on each end. They are used in a variety of games as a means to score points. The first player to score a certain number of points in a specified number of rounds wins the game. The simplest domino sets have just 28 tiles, although progressively larger sets are sometimes used. Dominoes have been around for over 500 years and have enjoyed widespread popularity worldwide.

The two most popular domino games in the West are Block and Draw. Both are played with the standard or double-six set which comprises 28 dominoes, but they can also be played with a double-nine or a double-twelve set. A domino is considered “open” for play when the end has no other tile connected to it. Usually, additional tiles can only be played on the ends of a domino that have already been “stitched up” by previous plays. However, some rules allow a domino to be played cross-ways in a layout, straddling the end of another domino that has been previously placed on its long side.

Lily Hevesh started playing with her grandparents’ classic 28-pack of dominoes when she was 9 years old. She quickly fell in love with the art of creating elaborate domino setups and began posting videos of her creations on YouTube. Today, Hevesh is a professional domino artist who creates stunning domino setups for movies, TV shows, and events like Katy Perry’s album launch.

In many domino games, the players take turns laying dominoes on the table, positioning them so that their adjacent edges match up and form a chain or other shape. The chain can then be manipulated to affect the outcome of the game. The player who can no longer play a domino, either because the chain is closed or because the last matching domino has been laid, “knocks” and play passes to the other player.

Each domino has a numbered arrangement of spots or “pips” on one end, and is blank or identically patterned on the other. The pips are usually spaced in such a way as to indicate the value of the domino on one end; for example, a domino with six pips on one end and five on the other has a total of 6 (or 12). Some large domino sets have more easily recognizable Arabic numerals printed on the pips instead of numbers. Some dominoes are also marked with a zigzag pattern on the sides. This makes them easier to identify, but may change the number of pips on each end or the overall shape of the domino. Generally, the more pips on an end, the higher the value of that end. There are also a few dominoes with no pips at all. These are known as “blanks” or “zeroes”.