A Beginner’s Guide to Domino


Domino is a popular game that involves arranging tiles to form lines, grids and 3-D structures. The resulting patterns can be simple or elaborate. Many people create and post videos of their domino art online, and some professional domino artists have created impressive domino setups for movies, TV shows and events. One of these is Hevesh, a YouTube star who has amassed more than 2 million subscribers and helped set a Guinness record for the largest number of dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement. Hevesh starts each project with a prototype she tests in slow motion to make sure it will fall correctly. Her largest installations can take several nail-biting minutes to complete, but she says her patience pays off in the end.

The most common domino sets are double-six (28 tiles) and double-nine (55 tiles). Larger sets exist but are used primarily for games with multiple players or to play long dominoes games. Most domino games involve blocking the opponent’s play or scoring points based on the total of pips on exposed ends of dominoes (i.e., when a one’s end touches a two’s end).

Blocking and scoring games can be played by any number of players. A domino is considered to be “played out” when all the exposed pips on its ends match (i.e., when a domino with six pips is touched by another domino with three pips and the result is a total of six).

Some of the most popular domino games involve drawing or counting. These games often have rules that vary slightly between regions. In some cases, rules are adjusted to accommodate cultural or regional differences in vocabulary, math skills and social mores. For example, some North American dominoes have double-zero and triple-zero pips to reflect the fact that some of these numbers may be considered taboo in other cultures.

Other types of domino games include puzzles, which usually give the player a pattern and ask them to place tiles in such a way that their ends match. Some puzzles are based on arithmetic properties of pips, such as totals of lines of tiles and tile halves. These types of puzzles were once popular in certain regions to circumvent religious prohibitions on playing cards.

Dominoes have also been made from a variety of natural materials: stone, such as marble and granite; soapstone, woods such as hickory and oak; metals such as brass and pewter; ceramic clay; and more recently, polymer material such as plastic and resin. Many sets still are handmade and have a more luxurious look than the modern mass-produced ones. Some sets have a unique texture to their finish, or have a combination of finishes to lend a distinctive appearance. These sets are usually more expensive than the mass-produced sets. Some people collect them as a hobby. Others use them to decorate their homes or as gifts for others. Some people even make large, outdoor, landscaped displays that feature dominoes.