The game of dominoes has been around for centuries and is enjoyed today in all parts of the world. The basic rules are fairly simple so when you first start learn to play you may be fooled into thinking it is too easy. Although it may be easy to just follow the rules and let the pieces fall where they may, there is quite a bit more going in a real domino game. Once you have played against some experienced players you will find out that winning at dominoes takes a lot of concentration and strategy. Another nice thing about dominoes is that it can be played outdoors in any weather and unlike a deck of playing cards a good set of dominoes will last for years. If you are interested in learning more about dominoes, this page provides the rules to a basic game and has links to other domino related sites.
Find out more about the history of dominoes
(not what you think it is but they do deliver)
|Players from the same team sit across from one another. They start out by placing all the dominoes face down and one player shuffling them in a sort of circular motion using his palms and finger tips. There is no penalty if another player decides to join in or shuffle some more after the first player has finished.|
|After the shuffle, the players simultaneously retrieve 7 dominoes for themselves from the pile keeping the dotted side of the pieces out of view from the other players. The player who has the double-six domino opens play by placing it face up in the middle of the table. Play now continues counter-clockwise as the player to the right of the one who opened the game matches another domino with a six to either side of the double-six domino.|
|If the player does not have a domino with a six he passes play to the next player by saying "pass" or knocking on the table and play is resumed with the next player. If a player has a matching domino he must play it and cannot pass. The dominoes are laid down in matching order on two fronts until one player has used all his dominoes and wins the hand.|
|The points from all the remaining players hands are then added together and awarded to the winning player's team. It is also possible to end play by blocking both sides of the game so that all players have to pass an no more dominoes can be played. When this happens, the remaining dominoes in each player's hand are totaled and the player or team with the least amount of points wins. In case of a tie, the player who closed the game may be declared the winner or the hand may just be nullified. This rule along with a few others (see below) should decided before beginning the game.|
In the next round of play, the team that lost the hand usually turns over all the dominoes and shuffles although it is not unusual for members of the other team to assist. The player who won the last hand begins play by placing any domino he chooses to start the game.
Additional Alternative Rules (discussed before the beginning of the first hand)
1. In some circles if a player picks up 5 or more doubles he may call for a reshuffling of the hand.
2. To make the game go faster, an additional 100 points may be awarded to the winner of the first hand and 50 additional points awarded to the winner of the second hand.
3. If a player wins the hand and his last domino could have been played at either end of the game, his team is awarded an extra 100 points.
4. If a player wins a hand and his last domino was the double-blank, his team is awarded an extra 100 points.
Some Basic Strategies:
|The first thing you should note is that there are twenty-eight dominoes, divided in half with each side having a number of dots from zero to six. In the entire set, each number is represented on seven different dominoes and there are seven doubles in the set. Throughout the game you must be aware of how many dominoes of each number have been played and how many are left to be played.|
When you first get your dominoes you want to take note of which numbers you have a lot of and which ones you have few or none. Obviously if you have a lot of one number, the other players will have less. Therefore you may want to build a strategy around your strengths that will allow you to control the game by making the other team pass. On the other hand, if you have a choice of plays and only one domino of a particular number you may want to hold onto it for a time when you have no choice but to use it.
Watch what the other players do and try block the opposing team's moves while allowing your partner to play his game. This second part is especially true if your partner has less dominoes than you. You should try to lay dominoes down on the same side of the game as the player (opposing team) before you. If no one has played on the side of your partner's last domino you want to leave that side alone or play a double which doesn't change the number and allows him to play his game. You also want to take note of which dominoes are in play when your partner passes and try to cover them for him if you can.
Play to your opponents weaknesses. If an opposing player seems reluctant to play a certain number or passes on one or more numbers you want to get that number out there to make him pass again.
Control the game. You may find that you or you and your partner have most or all of a certain number. In this case you want to get that number on both sides of the game to make the opposing team pass. Of course there is no strategy related conversation between partners so you just have to observe what he and the other players do.
Get rid of those doubles early! Since the doubles are less versatile they are harder to play and you could get stuck with them and have no chance of winning the game. In most cases you will notice that the player who starts the game will lead with a double. The exception to this is when additional points are being awarded for going out with the double blank. When attempting this strategy you should make sure that there are several blanks yet to be played and you are almost out of dominoes. If you calculate that there are two or less blanks left and you still have several dominoes it may be time to abandon this plan.
This is enough to get you started. If you want to learn additional games or find out more about dominoes try some links at the top of this page. Also if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.