The Basics of Domino


Domino has long been a popular game for people of all ages. The etymology of both the word and the game is unclear, but they may have both descended from an earlier sense of the word “domino,” which meant a black cape worn by a priest over his surplice at a carnival or masquerade. In modern English, domino is often used as a noun meaning “the act of striking or falling” and as a verb denoting the action of putting one domino down on top of another. In the context of a game, it can also mean to “take the lead” or to “knock over” an opponent’s piece.

Domino is a game with many variations, but there are some basic rules that apply to most games. One important rule is that all tiles must be played to the end of the line of play, or “the count.” This means that if a player draws more tiles for his hand than he is entitled to, he must take back the excess, without looking at them, and return them to the stock. The stock must then be reshuffled before any other players draw their hands.

There are many different ways to play Domino, but most of them involve bidding, blocking, scoring, or arranging the pieces in lines and angular patterns. The most popular domino games include doubles and triples, draw and follow, and matching.

In most games, the player with the highest number of pips in his hand begins play. If the pips on a player’s hand match those of another tile, that pair becomes a double or a triple. The higher the number of pips on a pair, the more valuable they are.

The first player to lay a double or triple wins the game, or “chips out.” After a player chips out, play continues until all players are blocked from playing any more. Then the player with the heaviest single or double begins play in the next game.

Some players use dominoes to create intricate artistic displays. They can make straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, and 3-D structures such as towers and pyramids.

For example, Hevesh, a professional domino artist with more than 2 million YouTube subscribers, uses her creative skills to create spectacular domino setups for movies and TV shows, as well as events like the album launch for Katy Perry. Hevesh makes test versions of each section of her designs and films them in slow motion to correct any errors. She then carefully puts the pieces together in the proper order, starting with the largest 3-D sections, then moving on to flat arrangements. She always leaves room for error, however, because even the best-laid dominoes can sometimes come crashing down.