Dominoes are small rectangular blocks, usually made of wood or ivory. They are marked with an arrangement of pips, and each end is marked with an identifying mark. Players must position them such that they touch either the open or closed end of a domino chain.
Dominoes are most commonly used for positional games. In most versions of the game, a player’s total points are calculated based on how many of his or her tiles are left in the other player’s hand. For instance, in a traditional English pub method, players pick up all six of their pieces at the beginning of the round. This allows them to gain the benefit of a larger number of tiles for each play. However, some variations have a time limit per turn, or require that both partners chip out. Depending on the rules, a player may also have to pay a penalty if they exceed the time limit.
A player starts the game with a platform of three or four dominoes. He or she then takes turns adding dominoes to the platform. The goal of the game is to make the tower as stable as possible. To do this, each player must knock off a tile. Once a player has knocked off a tile, the remaining tiles on the platform are referred to as sleeping tiles.
Before the game begins, players must agree on a target score. Typically, the highest score wins. Depending on the type of game, points can range from 150 to 200. If the target is low, players may have to strategize to avoid a loss.
The dominoes are then shuffled. The first tile is typically a double-six, and the second is a vertical tile. These two are followed by a tile with a double-five and then another with a double-four. Another player’s turn is then triggered, and they draw the next six dominoes from the stock.
Play continues in this manner, until a player has a full hand of dominoes. The winning team will select the first domino, and the game is over if none of the players have a legal play left.
Block-and-draw is one of the simplest domino variants. Two to four players take turns drawing and picking dominoes from the stock. As players take turns, the game proceeds in clockwise fashion. Each round is a trick. Any tricks are counted as one point. When a player loses, the losing player’s hand is reshuffled.
Some variations of dominoes do not have wind blowing cards, and instead award pips on the opposing player’s tiles. Other domino games have a time limit on each turn. Those with a time limit are best played quickly.
Another variation of the game involves a “chicken foot.” This is a type of domino that has the potential to win the game. While most people think of a game of chicken, the ‘bones’ are actually dominoes. Unlike the ‘bones’ of the chicken, these dominoes can be played with or without a hole.