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How to Play Dominoes


A domino, or set of dominoes, is a gaming device used for various games. Each domino is a small rectangular block with one side blank or marked by dots resembling those on dice. The sets of these dominoes may vary, but generally include a total of 28 pieces. A player makes a play by placing his or her domino so that it is adjacent to another domino with its open end facing up. The resulting line of played dominoes is referred to as the layout, string or line of play.

Each domino in the line of play is then added to the count, which is the number of total points available at that point in the game. If the open end of a domino is facing up, it is considered a single; if it is facing down, it is a double. The dominoes are then scored according to the rules of the game, and the player who makes a play that counts the most points wins the game.

The game is characterized by a sequence of turns, each player making a move until no longer able to do so. When a player can no longer make a play, the player “chips out,” which means that he or she passes his turn to the next player. Depending on the game, the losing players may be awarded a number of points equal to the total number of spots remaining on their dominoes.

In most games, the first player to make a play begins by drawing a certain number of tiles from the stock, as specified in the rules for that particular game. This is often referred to as the draw game. After the first double is played, the player must then take a matching domino from his or her own hand and play it onto the double. This is sometimes referred to as the set, the down or the lead.

During a subsequent turn, each player must play a tile onto the table so that it is joined to the existing chain of dominoes at its open end by overlapping it. If the new tile shows a number at both ends of the chain, it is said to stitch up those ends. This is the same procedure as when a’spinner’ (see below) is played on a double.

Some domino sets are made of natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or dark woods like ebony. These are usually more expensive than those made of polymer, but offer a more distinctive appearance and feel to the user. Other materials, such as marble and granite, are also used to produce domino sets. These are more common in some countries, and may be preferred by players who enjoy the feel of a heavier, more substantial set. Similarly, crystal and glass have been used to produce dominoes. These are often more difficult to use than a traditional wooden set, and are generally reserved for very special occasions or gifts.