Domino is a game played by more than one person in which players place domino tiles on a table or other surface to form a line of play. This line of play can be either lengthwise or crosswise, depending on the rules of the specific game. A winner is determined when the last tile on a given row or column is played. There are many different games of domino, and each has its own unique set of rules and scoring methods. This article presents some basic instructions for the majority of the games shown on this site, although there are a number of other variations that do not use hands or require a specified order of play.
The basic rules of most domino games do not change, but some variations are common among different sets and game types. For example, many players may agree to count only the total number of pips on all tiles left in the losers’ hands at the end of the hand or game rather than counting each individual end of a double. This rule can be incorporated into the basic rules, but it is not required by all games.
A player who draws more dominoes than he is entitled to, or draws an extra tile in his hand after the game begins, must draw an additional pair of tiles from the stock and place them face down. This is called an overdraw, and the player to the right of the overdraw must take these tiles without looking at them. These additional tiles must then be returned to the stock, where they are reshuffled before the next player draws his hand for the game.
When a domino is stood upright, it stores energy, or potential energy. When it falls, this energy is converted to kinetic energy, causing other dominoes in the line to topple. Just like the pulse of a nerve impulse traveling down a nerve axon, this energy travels at a constant speed regardless of the size of the triggering stimulus, and it can only travel in one direction.
While modern dominoes are typically made of polymer plastic, traditional sets were often made from natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips. More recently, sets have been manufactured from a variety of other materials, including marble, granite, soapstone, bronze, pewter, and ceramic clay.
After a player has drawn the amount of tiles permitted by the rules of the particular game being played, he may “bye” tiles from the stock if he can make a play with them. If he can’t, he must “knock” and pass play to the other players. In some games, the player who byes the most tiles is rewarded for his effort. This may be a bonus point in the score or an additional turn in the game. The heaviest tile is usually the first to be played in the new round of the game.