How to Play Dominoes

How to Play Dominoes


Dominoes are cousins to playing cards and one of the oldest tools for game play. They can be used in professional domino game competition and are a fun way to relax with family and friends. The markings on the surface of a domino, known as pips, originally represented the results of throwing two six-sided dice.

A single domino is twice as long as wide and features a line down the middle to distinguish it from its opposite side. Each end has a different value, typically ranging from six to none or blank, referred to as its rank or weight. The value of each end is determined by the number of dots (also called pips) and the rank of a domino is based on the total number of pips.

While some games may use only a set of seven dominoes, most require at least ten and some have as many as forty. A player draws a small amount of the total number of dominoes required and then plays from his hand. When a player cannot continue, he “knocks” the table and passes play to his opponent.

The way a domino chain develops provides part of the entertainment value of the game. The simplest rule is that a tile must be placed so that the ends touch another domino, either adjacent or at a right angle to each other. The result is a snake-like arrangement, although occasionally due to space constraints or a player’s whim, a double may be played perpendicularly to the other, touching only one side.

When the ends of a domino touch, a point is scored for each domino that touches it. The points are counted each time a domino touches a double, or three times when the ends touch a five. In some games, additional tiles are placed across the open ends of a double to create a larger, more complex shape.

Dominoes can be arranged to represent almost anything, from a train track and road map to a circus tent. Some even have moving parts to simulate the action of an earthquake, a car crash or an airplane takeoff. The beauty of the domino is that it can be arranged and manipulated to fit an artistic vision or tell a story.

When writing a novel, a writer can use the principles of domino to help him or her structure the plot and build suspense. The most successful stories feature a sequence of events that is like a domino effect—each event causes a shift in the next, until the plot finally comes to a natural conclusion. The same principle can be applied to business. When you change one thing in your company, it can trigger a domino effect of other positive changes. For example, when one team member takes a break from sedentary leisure activities, other employees will follow suit. As a result, healthy lifestyles and work habits develop, as well as productivity. Ultimately, the business will prosper.