Learning About Domino and Other Games

Domino is a game that requires strategic placement of tiles to form connections and sequences. The game also teaches lessons about logical reasoning and foresight, skills that apply to life beyond the domino table.

A domino is a tile with a set of pips, or dots, that must match with matching pips on adjacent tiles to form a chain. This simple concept is the basis for a number of games played with dominoes, some of which are similar to card-based games such as poker.

Each player begins a game of domino by drawing a number of tiles from the stock, or pile of unplayed dominoes. The number of tiles drawn is specified by the rules of the particular game being played. When a player draws more than the number of tiles he is entitled to, these extra dominoes are known as an overdraw, and they must be removed from play until the next hand.

When the players have drawn the number of tiles they are entitled to, each one places his hand of dominoes in front of him. The player with the highest double in his hand then begins play. Some games specify that the first play must be made by the player holding the heaviest single. If the player holds a lower-ranking double, or no double at all, then he must draw new hands to open the game.

Each time a tile is played onto the table, it is placed so that its two matching ends touch. The domino chain then develops a snake-like shape that is determined by the direction in which the next tile is played. Doubles are always played across the line of play, while singles may be played either lengthwise or cross-ways.

As the line of play continues to grow, it becomes more difficult to keep track of the pips on each individual domino. To make the process easier, most domino games use a system of counting the pips on the ends of the line of play, or in some cases the entire chain. These pips are then added to a winning player’s score.

In addition to scoring, other activities associated with the playing of domino are sometimes used to teach fundamental skills such as counting and arithmetic. Other games are designed to reinforce other learning areas such as motor skills, visual recognition, and color and shape recognition. Some people also use domino to help build self-esteem, because the action of tipping a small domino can lead to a massive construction that is very satisfying to watch.

Dominoes can be made of a wide variety of materials. Traditional European-style domino sets are typically made from 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, domino sets have been produced from synthetic materials such as polymer and even molded plastic.