How to Play Domino

Domino, the game of strategy and skill played with rectangular tiles, has captivated people around the world for centuries. It is a beloved pastime and symbol of camaraderie in many cultures. It is also a popular educational tool and the inspiration for several films and books.

There are many different ways to play domino. The rules vary, but all games have certain elements in common. For example, the tiles are placed on a flat surface such as a table or board. They are then arranged in rows. Each domino has an identifying mark, such as dots or numbers, on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. The number of pips on each end of the tile determines how it is joined to other dominoes. For example, a double can be joined to another domino of the same type by placing it crosswise across the other tile or it may be joined to the next domino in line by playing it with its matching end touching fully.

In most domino games, each player in turn places a domino edge to edge against the other dominoes on the table. This is known as positioning a domino and the result of each tile being properly placed determines how the game progresses. Depending on the rules of the game, the players take turns placing their dominoes so that adjacent sides match up or form a specified total.

The most common game for two or more players uses a double-six set. These dominoes are shuffled and formed into a stock or boneyard, from which the players draw the tiles for their hands. Some games allow the players to buy additional tiles from the stock. The tiles purchased are then added to the hand of the player who drew them.

Some games have a fixed winner. In these, the winning player is the player whose total score of pips on his remaining dominoes is lowest. Other games have a tie winner. In these, the winning player is whoever has the lowest combined total of the pips on his remaining dominoes and those of his opponents.

While the most common games involve blocking and scoring, there are other, less structured games that are played with dominoes as well. For instance, there are solitaire and trick-taking domino games that were once popular in areas where religious proscriptions prohibited the use of cards.

If the game reaches a point at which no player can play, it stops. Normally, this occurs when the last player chips out, or plays his final domino. However, in some games the players may agree to continue playing until one player cannot move any further and then divide the victory evenly between them.