The Basics of Dominos

Dominos are a type of tile-based game with an impressive array of rules and variations. They are typically rectangular in shape and have a pattern of spots on one side, which is matched with the number of dots on adjacent tiles to form a chain that continues until all tiles are laid down or until play stops. They can be used in a variety of games, both solo and multi-player.

In some domino games, players draw their hands of tiles to determine who will make the first play. Usually, the player with the highest double will begin play. However, if there is no high double, the player with the heaviest single begins play. There are also a few games in which the winner of the previous game starts the next. In addition, there are some domino rules that allow a player to buy any of the remaining tiles in the stock by counting the pips on the unplayed ends and adding this number to their score.

When a player makes a play that causes one or more of the other players’ tiles to fall, they must announce what they have done before playing another tile. This is called “knocking” and is often accompanied by loud rapping of the table or fist slamming on the table. This can disrupt the flow of the game and upset other players. Some players may resign from the game at this point.

While dominoes are usually made of polymer, there is a long history of domino sets made of natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl or MOP), ivory and ebony. These are more expensive than polymer sets but have a classic look and feel. They are also more durable than plastic.

As in card games, dominoes are played on a flat surface with each player taking turns to place their tiles. The first player to complete their turn places a domino edge to edge on the table with its pips pointing toward the center of the grid. Each subsequent player must add their tile so that its pips align with the domino of the previous player. The resulting lines of dominoes are known as the line of play.

Some of the most popular domino games involve placing tiles in a line, either lengthwise or crosswise. The line of play may be joined by using a double if it has a number showing on both ends, or a spinner if the two ends show different numbers. Some games require that all doubles be played lengthwise, while others have a rule that only doubles that are not a spinner are to be played crosswise.

When a person creates a large domino installation, they may start by making test versions to see how the pieces work individually. Lily Hevesh, a professional domino artist who works in 3-D and has been featured on television, makes these test versions of the biggest sections of her installations. She films each section in slow motion, which allows her to correct problems before they become a larger issue. She also uses fractions to help her determine the amount of dominoes she will need and how they should be arranged.