How Domino Is Played

Domino was invented in the mid-18th century, and the game’s popularity has spread worldwide. It is an easy-to-learn game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, and is often used to help young children develop their motor skills. Although there are many different domino games, they all share extremely similar, and sometimes identical, rules. The most popular are positional games, where players play a domino tile edge to edge against another in order to either form a specified total or an empty space.

A domino is a small rectangular tile with a line down the center and a set of numbers at each end. The most common domino set, double-six, contains 28 unique tiles. The domino’s numbered ends correspond to the number of spots on a dice, and each end can either be with or across the line of play. Dominoes can be played with any number of players, but each player must have a domino to begin playing.

Like playing cards, of which they are a variant, dominoes have identifying marks on one side and blank or identically patterned sides. These identifying marks, called pips, are usually colored circles, squares or diamonds, but can be any pattern that will distinguish one domino from its opposite. The other side of a domino is typically textured, which can be useful in some games, such as in making sure a domino is placed correctly.

When a domino is played, it adds to the existing domino chain and increases its length. Each player in turn places a domino onto the table positioning it so that its numbered end matches the open end of the preceding domino. The resulting configuration is referred to as the layout, string or line of play. When the line of play is complete, the player must “knock” or rap the table to signal that his turn has ended and to inform the other players that he no longer wishes to make a play.

The count of the line of play is determined by counting the numbers on all the open ends that match. Depending on the game, this can be done in two ways: 1) with the line of play, lengthwise, or 2) across the line of play, crosswise. For example, if the line of play is 3-5 and 5-1, the count would be 4 (3+1).

Dominoes can also be joined to each other with special tiles called spinners. These have a central hole that can be lined up with the corresponding number on an adjacent domino to form a link. The number of links that can be made in this way is limited, because the hole cannot be used for playing a tile with an unmatched numbered end.

When a domino falls, it transfers its energy to the next domino in line, which provides the push needed to knock it over as well. This continues for all the dominoes in the line until the last one falls. When Hevesh creates a mind-blowing domino setup, she follows a version of the engineering-design process: considering the theme or purpose, brainstorming images or words that might be used in the installation, and then building each element to make it work together.