How to Play Dominoes


Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks that can be stacked on end in long lines. They can be used to play a variety of games. When the first domino in a line is tipped over, it causes the rest of the pieces to fall, which can continue until the whole chain has fallen. Some dominoes can even be arranged to form 3-D structures and pictures. One of the most popular uses of domino is to make chains that are able to fall in the shape of letters, numbers or shapes. This is known as domino art.

A domino is a rectangular piece of wood or plastic, usually bearing from one to six pips or dots on each side. There are 28 such pieces in a typical set of dominoes. Each domino is divided visually into two parts – the left and right sides, with the value of each indicated by the number of dots on the left and the numbers on the right. A domino is normally twice as wide as it is thick, but there are some exceptions to this rule.

The name domino is derived from the Latin word domini, meaning “heavy.” Early dominoes were sometimes called bones, cards, chips, men or tiles, and they often had different names in different cultures. In China, for example, dominoes were referred to as “lunni” (which means moon).

Each domino has a line in the middle that divides it into two parts with open ends – the sides that are not covered by numbers or dots. Each open end can receive a tile, with the number showing on the tile determining the direction it must be placed. Generally, a tile must be placed so that its open end is adjacent to the open end of another tile in the same line. This produces a chain of tiles that can develop snake-like shapes, depending on the rules and whims of players.

Most domino games are won by the player who scores the highest total of points in a given number of rounds. Each round, a player receives the number of points shown on the topmost domino in the chain – either all the numbers (if a double is present) or the sum of the numbers on the two matching ends (if a double is not present). A player may also score by placing a single domino so that it straddles an existing double in the same line.

There are many rules that govern the way dominoes can be played, and each game has its own unique characteristics. Some are won by simply placing the pieces in a row, while others require the use of strategies such as blocking opponents or making chain reactions to score points.

Some people take dominoes to the next level by creating intricate and impressive structures. Some of these are flat arrangements, while others are 3D creations such as pyramids and towers. The most impressive domino artworks are often made by a person who creates sections of the work and then tests them to ensure that each individual section works properly before adding it to the overall installation. Hevesh has worked on projects involving more than 300,000 dominoes, and some of her larger installations can take several nail-biting minutes to fall. She credits one physical phenomenon with allowing her to achieve her amazing results: gravity.