How to Play Domino
Domino is a game of chance in which players take turns adding to a platform of dominoes. In this version of the game, players may add tiles to any of the four sides of a double. The goal is to keep the tower from falling down. This type of game is the most common in Latin America. It is also played in Texas, where it is called 42.
To begin the game, the first player picks a single domino and places it face up in the middle of the table. Depending on the version, the back of the domino can be decorated or blank. Traditionally, European-style dominoes are made of bone or ivory. These sets were brought to England by French prisoners of war in the late 18th century. They were later introduced to France, Italy, and Spain.
Players then take turns picking dominoes from stock. Each domino is marked with a number of spots and a number of pips. Pips are painted or drilled into the domino and the individual pieces are usually a half-square shape. However, some large sets use Arabic numerals instead of pips. Unlike other games, pips on the back of a domino cannot be seen by other players.
During a trick, a player must place a domino so that it is a certain number of pips away from one of the ends of a chain. Then, the next player must match that one end of the domino to part of the first tile. If the next player cannot match it, the first player can play a new tile.
When a player cannot place a domino, he or she must draw another from the pool. The number of pips in a domino is its “rank.” Typically, a tile with fewer pips is considered lighter than a tile with more pips. Increasing the rank of a domino increases the amount of points it can earn. For example, a 3-5 domino has three pips on one half and five pips on the other half.
A double is a domino whose faces are marked with the same number of pips as the corresponding tile. Often, the face of the double is divided into two squares, with a line dividing them. Most games will allow a double to be played in any direction, although some will require it to be laid perpendicular to the line. Those that do not allow a double to be played perpendicular to the line are often called “spinners.”
After a domino is shuffled, each player draws a number of tiles, generally seven. The player who draws the most is said to be leading. Usually, the first tile played is a double-six. But the next tile is usually a 3-6 or a 6-4. Some games also consider a double to be a single.
Play continues clockwise, with players alternately adding tiles to a single line of play or extending the line of play. At the end of each hand, the tiles are shuffled again.