What is Domino?

Domino is a flat, thumbsized rectangular block of wood or plastic, with one face bearing from one to six pips or dots and the other blank or identically patterned. 28 such dominoes form a complete set. A domino game consists of a series of moves in which players match up adjacent ends of dominoes to form a line of play. Each player takes turn adding a domino to the line of play until all are played or all of the dominoes have been removed from the table. The player who adds the final domino determines the winner of the game.

While the word is often used to describe a whole game of domino, it can also refer to a particular piece in a set. In the US, a domino is typically called a double-six.

In the past, dominoes were made from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony. More recently, polymer materials have been used for domino sets. These are usually less expensive and more durable than the traditional materials.

The most common domino games are bidding and blocking games. In bidding games, each player places a domino edge to edge against another in such a way that the resulting pair of ends forms either an equal value (e.g., five to five) or some specified total. Blocking games involve placing a domino on top of another in order to prevent it from falling off the table. In both types of games, the open end of the last domino played determines the starting point for the next player’s play.

Various rules and strategies make up the various domino games. For example, some games have special rules for scoring, such as a spinner tile that can be played on two or four sides; and certain combinations of pips can represent certain values or counts. Other games are simply played by matching an open end of a domino with an adjacent open end of an already played domino, or by forming a line in the shape of a circle or triangle.

In some games, each player draws only the number of tiles permitted according to the rules of that game. The remaining tiles are grouped together to form a pile known as the stock or boneyard. The players draw from this pile, putting the drawn tiles on-edge in front of them so they can see their own, but not those of their opponents. Then, in turn, each player plays a domino from his or her hand onto the stack, following the rules for that particular game. Depending on the game, the player may also be allowed to bye a tile from the stock. He or she can then add this tile to the line of play by playing it on an adjacent free end of an already played domino. By the time this article was published, Hevesh had over 2 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, where she shows off her spectacular domino projects. Some of her largest displays can take several nail-biting minutes for all of the dominoes to fall in place.