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Domino Game

Dominoes is a tile-based game, which originates from early 13th century China. Although it’s oriental in origin, the modern popularized version of the game was introduced by the Italians in the mid 18th century. Dominoes is the most widely-played tile game in western countries and is hugely popular in the Americas.

Dominoes Rules

How to Play Dominoes

Dominoes can be played with either 2 or 4 players. The game starts with the players shuffling all of the tiles face-down and distributing 7 to each. The initial starting player is chosen at random from amongst them and places the first tile face up to start the game.

Game Goal

Each player must place a tile where the amount of pips on at least one half of it matches the number of pips on the exposed ends of the tile chain. If they cannot, then they pick up more tiles until they get one that can. The first player to place all of their tiles wins and scores points based on the number of pips on the opponents’ remaining tiles.

Tiles and Combinations

Dominoes is played with 28 rectangular tiles. Each tile is divided by a line into 2 equal spaces (squares) in which are situated numbers from 0 to 6. The value of either side is the number of spots (also known as pips). The tiles cover all possible combinations with these numbers.


The player who begins the game is selected at random. Then, the first player rotates in the direction of play.

For the next games, the role of the first player rotates in the direction of play.

Placing tiles on the line

After the first player places the starting tile, the rest of the players start playing in turns in the direction of play. The general rules – for both Draw and Block games – for playing a tile are as follows:

  • The tiles are placed on the table in a line. The line can bend in different ways so that it fits within the table.
  • The two ends of the line are the only places where a tile can be played.
  • A player can play only one tile during his turn.
  • A tile can be placed at the end of a line only when one of the halves of this tile contains the same number of pips as the end where it is placed.

End of a game

A game ends when one of the following occurs:

  • A player plays his last tile on the line.
  • All players pass; that is, nobody can play a tile on the line.


Scoring in Dominoes happens as follows:

  • If all parties have equal results, then there is no winner for the game, and nobody scores points.
  • If a party has a lower result than the rest, it wins the game.
  • The winning party scores a number of points calculated by adding the results of all the losing parties, and then extracting the result of the winning party.
  • If in a 4×1 game there are 2 or 3 players with the lowest amount of points, then there should be no winner for the hand, and nobody should score points.
  • Interesting Facts

    The direction of play determines the order in which players play tiles, and also who would play the first tile in the next round.

    In general, certain parts of the world have their preferences for the direction of play:

    • Clockwise for games from North America, North and West Europe, and Russia.
    • Counter-clockwise for South and East Europe, Asia, and Swiss games.

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