The Basics of Domino
Domino is a game played with small rectangular wood or plastic blocks, marked on each side by spots resembling those of dice. Unlike playing cards or dice, which can be used to play only one or several games, domino can be used to play many different types of games. A domino set consists of a large number of tiles, enough for two or more players to compete and have fun.
The most popular domino games fall into four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games, and round games. Each type of game has its own rules and variations. The game of domino is a great way to teach children basic counting and math skills.
When a domino is played, it starts a chain reaction that continues until all the other pieces are toppled. This simple, yet powerful concept reflects the effect of concentrating energy on a single activity that can generate momentum and help to “knock over” other interests. It’s also a good metaphor for finding the one task that can move other priorities forward, like creating a financial plan or outlining career goals.
As each player plays a tile, it is positioned so that it touches the open end of the previous tile played. This configuration of a line of dominoes is known as the layout, string or line of play. In some cases, the line of play can be curved or snake-like depending on how the tiles are positioned and the limitations of the playing surface. A tile must be placed squarely on top of a double if the open end shows a number, but it may be placed perpendicular to a double touching at its center if the open end of the tile shows a number that is helpful to the player or distasteful to his opponents.
Unlike a card or dice, which can be rolled to determine the order of play, dominoes are always drawn face down. The players then draw their hand of seven dominoes, one at a time. The player who draws the highest double, or the heaviest domino in his hand, goes first. If the player has a tie, the tie is broken by drawing new tiles from the stock.
A common domino set consists of 91 tiles, which is enough for most games with four or more players. However, it’s possible to extend the size of a domino set by adding additional “extension” sets. These larger sets contain more pips on each end of the dominoes, increasing the number of unique combinations of ends and thus more possibilities for games. Some players also use their own special expansion sets to enhance the variety of games they can play. Larger sets are used for competitive dominoes like bergen and muggins, which involve counting the pips in each player’s hand to determine winnings. A more casual variation on domino is a round game like Mexican train, which does not involve counting pips and can be a fast-paced, social experience.