The Basics of Dominoes

A domino is a small, thumb-sized rectangular block of wood or plastic that has either a blank side or a molded pattern of dots, or “pips,” which are arranged in a regular symmetrical arrangement like those on a die. Each side of a domino bears an identity marking that distinguishes it from other tiles. The values on both sides range from six pips up to none or blank. The number of pips on a domino is sometimes called its rank or weight. In addition to a variety of games that are played using dominoes, some people use them to make art such as straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures, and 3D structures like towers and pyramids.

Dominoes are used in a wide variety of games that require strategic planning, tactical skill, and physical endurance. Some of the most popular domino games involve matching a tile to an open end on another tile. The result is a line of tiles that can branch out or loop around, and the basic rules of this type of game are listed here under Line of Play.

Other games are more akin to card games, and many of these have very similar or identical rules, even though the names may vary. There are also domino games of a very different character, such as solitaire or trick-taking games that were once popular in certain areas to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards.

The first rule of domino is to ensure that the tiles are set up properly on a flat, level surface. This is especially important when using large, heavy tiles that can be prone to sliding and falling over if not set up properly. When setting up a domino track, try placing the first tile lightly touching the second one. Then, as you place each subsequent domino on top of the previous one, apply more and more pressure to it. Eventually, the force applied will overcome the friction between the two dominoes and cause them to fall over together.

If you are new to domino, it is a good idea to start with the simplest game and then work your way up to the more challenging ones. This will help you understand the basic principles of how the game works, which will make it easier to learn more complex strategies.

There are a variety of different types of domino sets, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, European-style dominoes are normally made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted on them. These sets are typically more expensive than those of polymer materials, but they are considered to have a better aesthetic and feel to them.

In general, a player begins play by drawing a hand of dominoes, usually the number specified in the rules for the particular game being played. The remaining tiles are placed face down on the table, known as the stock or boneyard, and each player draws the dominoes for his hand in turn. If a player draws more tiles for his hand than the number permitted, these are considered overdraws and must be reshuffled before any other players draw their hands.