How Do You Play Dominoes?
During the mid-18th century, the domino game made its way from Italy to France, and from there to England. French prisoners of war made the game from bone and pips. Using these materials, they created dominoes with white and black on one side, and with bone on the other.
These were essentially six-sided dice, but with duplicates of the throws. The dominos represent six values of a single die throw: blank-blank (0-0), a double-double (1-2), a triple-triple (3-6), a double-four (5-8), a double-six (1-6), and a double-six (7-8).
In Western dominoes, each player starts with a set of seven tiles: a lead piece, two sets of nine, and three sets of eight. The lead piece has the most pips and the highest total value. The next player has the next highest double. Then the next player has the next heaviest domino in the highest suit. Afterwards, the players take turns choosing seven dominoes from the stock. The winning team plays the domino in their hand. During play, the players alternately extend the line of play, taking turns to add tiles to the line. The last player has the option of playing a tile that is to the left or right of the tile already in play.
In Western dominoes, players play the game in pairs. The winning team wins the game when all the tiles in the opponents’ hand are played. However, in some versions, players must chip out each other’s tiles. Then the player who wins the first hand plays the first domino in his hand.
In block and draw games, two to four players take turns drawing tiles from the stock. The first player chooses the tile he or she wants to play and places it in the middle of the table. The second player is then able to choose a tile, and the third player chooses a tile. This pattern is repeated until one player has played all of the tiles in the stock. The remaining tiles remain facedown and are available for future players to draw. In most basic games, players can see the number of tiles in each other’s hands, but not their values. The winning player scores according to the total of the pips left in the opponents’ hands. This is usually 35 points, plus seven tricks.
There are also some variants of the game where the players do not chip out the tiles, and the aim of play is to reach a set number of points. This is called skillful dominoes. The player’s aim is to reach a target score, usually 61, and the winner is the player who has the fewest pips left in his or her hand. This type of game is most popular in Latin America.
The game has also been played by Inuits, who play it with bones instead of tiles. These are the oldest known domino games. The Inuit game was probably an imitation of Western games.
European-style dominoes were traditionally made from bone or dark hardwood, such as ebony. These were produced for the wealthy, while the bone and pips used to make Western dominoes were made for the commoner.