Introduction To Dominoes

Domino Basics (or Domino 101)

Dominoes are flat rectangle shaped flat pieces and can be made of a variety of materials including stone, wood and hard plastic. They are usually designed to be twice as long as they are wide and are usually at least half as thick as they are wide so they can be stood on their edge. Dominos come in different sizes as well, the standard being 2" long X 1" wide X 1/2" thick.

Each domino has both a front and a back side, with the back being blank or sometimes decorative. The front, or face, of the domino is divided by a line across the center separating the tile into two square-shaped halves. Numbers (or pips) are represented in each half or are blank, which represents a zero. These pips are molded or drilled into the tile and then painted. Domino sets are available in many color combinations, but are most commonly found with either white dominos and black pips or black with white pips.

Each domino is named for the number of pips it has on each half of its face, eg; a domino with 3 pips on one half and 5 pips on the other half is called the 3-5 domino. Dominoes with the same number of pips on each half are called doublets or doubles. A domino with different numbers of pips on each half of the face is called a single domino. All dominoes in a set that have the same number of pips on one end make up a suit. For example, the 0-0, 0-1, 0-2, 0-3, 0-4, 0-5, and 0-6 make up a suit of zero. As you can see, each double will belong to only one suit, since it has the name number of pips on both halves. Singles belong to two suits, since they have two different numbers on each half. In most domino games, the number of pips on a domino are added or subtracted for scoring purposes. In some domino games, however, the number of pips on a domino is used strictly for matching purposes.

Domino Sets

A set of domino pieces (or tiles) is sometimes called a deck. These sets are named according to the domino with the highest number of pips. The four most common domino sets are the double-6, double-9, double-12, and double-15 sets. Most commonly, domino games are designed to be played with the double-6 set. There are several party game dominoes that are designed to be played with larger sets, such as the double-9, -12, and -15 sets. This allows for a larger number of player, making it a more suitable domino game for larger groups.

Every set (or deck) of dominoes includes all possible combinations of 2 numbers, from zero up to the highest number of pips in the set (for example, 9 in a double-9 set), as well as a double for each suit. Each combination of pips occurs only once in each set. A standard double-6 domino set consists of 28 tiles: 7 doubles and 21 singles.

Types of Domino Games

Chickenfoot
chickenfoot dominoes Part of the "train" style of dominoes. Chicken Foot is played in rounds with 1 round for each double domino in the set. Usually played by 2 - 8 players with a set of double-6, double-9, double-12 or double-15 (and sometimes double-18) dominoes.
Mexican Train
mexican train dominoesThe object of the game is for a player to play all the dominoes from his or her hand onto one or more chains, or "trains" from a central station.
Spinner
spinner dominoesThis game is played with a special set of dominoes that includes a full set of double-9 dominoes plus 11 extra "spinner" (wild card) dominoes, for a total of 66 domino tiles. Player with the lowest score wins.
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