The Basics of Domino


Domino is a game of chance that can be played by two or more people. It is similar to other games of chance such as poker and roulette, but it has its own unique features. Domino rules vary from one region to another, and even the same game can be played with slightly different rules in different countries. The most common domino games are blocking and scoring; however, other types of domino games exist that use the tiles to create patterns and puzzles, for example, solitaire and trick-taking games which were once popular as a way to circumvent religious prohibitions against playing cards.

Thousands of dominoes can be arranged into intricate patterns that look like a car crash or rocket launch. When a single domino is knocked over, it begins a chain reaction that can last for many turns. The physics of dominoes is very interesting. The pulse of a falling domino travels at a constant speed, independent of the size of the triggering domino, and can only be turned off by removing the triggering tile or by removing the whole chain. This is similar to how nerve impulses travel down the length of an axon, and it explains why domino chains can continue for so long.

In most domino games, the first player to play a tile begins the game by making the first “set,” or “the down.” The word set, down, and lead are also used as verbs to describe the act of setting the initial domino. Once the set is down, the potential energy that was stored in the first domino becomes available for other purposes, mainly pushing on the next domino.

A player must always place a tile on the table so that it touches the end of another domino. The resulting chain, known as a domino chain, develops into a snake-like shape on the surface of the table. A double must be placed so that the matching ends are touching, and the same is true for a triple.

When a player draws more tiles than he is entitled to in his hand, this is called an overdraw. Depending on the specific game rules, the player may not be permitted to draw additional hands, or he may have to buy tiles (see below) from the other players in order to make his turn.

Most domino games are played with a basic double-six set. These 28 tiles are shuffled face down to form the stock, or boneyard, and each player draws seven of these tiles for his hand. These tiles are arranged on-edge so that the other players can see their own, but not the pips of their opponents’ tiles.

Each player must draw a number of tiles for his hand according to the rules of the particular game being played, and then place them face down on the table in front of him. The player with the heaviest double then makes his turn. Generally, each player will only make plays that will increase the value of his dominoes, or add to the score of the winner of the game.