ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Play Dominoes

Updated on August 28, 2010

Dominoes is any of several number-matching games for two or more persons. The games are played with flat, oblong blocks identified by the number of dots on the faces. Domino blocks in various forms appeared a thousand years ago in China, but these pieces were generally substitutes for dice. The modern game appeared about 1750 in Italy and France and gradually spread throughout Europe and to the United States. Of the many different games, draw, muggins, sniff, and matador are probably the most widely played.

The blocks used in dominoes, commonly called bones, are made of wood, bone, or similar materials. They are rectangular, with one face black and the other divided into halves, or ends, by a ridge across the center. The ends may be blank or marked by dots. In a standard set of 28 bones, the ends show every possible combination of two numbers from zero to 6. Bones with the same number of dots at each end are doublets, and each doublet belongs to one suit. (A suit consists of pieces with the same number of spots on an end.) Other bones belong to two suits, for example, 0-4 or 3-6. A 28-piece set has seven suits but eight ends of any one number.

Photo by Elvis Santana
Photo by Elvis Santana

Draw

The draw game is the basic version for two. Players shuffle the bones face down; then each takes seven from the pile, the remaining pieces forming the stock or boneyard. The leader, determined by a draw, places the first bone, known as the set, on the table. After that, turns alternate. A play is made by placing a bone adjacent to another with a free end, so that touching ends match (see illustration). Doublets are placed crosswise in the chain or layout, so that there are always two free ends. Only one end can be matched in a turn, and if a player is unable to make a match he must draw from the boneyard until he can. He must play if he is able. If he exhausts the boneyard and still cannot play, his turn lapses, but he may reenter the game if his adversary plays a bone he can match. The first to dispose of all of his pieces calls "Domino!" and scores the total count of his opponent's unplayed bones. If neither side can play, the game is “blocked”, and the player with the lowest count scores the total dots in his adversary's hand. If three or four play, each starts with five bones. Game is 50 to 100 points.

Muggins (All Fives)

This is an elaboration of the draw game. In addition to the points scored by going domino, a player who makes the open ends of the layout total 5 or a multiple of 5 immediately tallies that number of points. Also, he does not have to play, if he prefers instead to draw. Game is 200 points.

Sniff

This variant of muggins makes the first doublet played, called sniff, matchable on four open areas (ends and sides), because it can be placed lengthwise or crosswise in the layout. Other doublets must be used crosswise. Game is 200 points.

Matador

In this variant of draw, the object is not to match touching dominoes but to total 7; for example, 2 would be played to a 5, or 3 to a 4. A blank is a block, except to any one of four matadors: 0-0, 6-1, 5-2, and 4-3. Either end of these bones may be played at any time. If a player cannot make a 7, he must draw from the boneyard until he can, but two bones must always be left in the boneyard. (It is often good strategy for a player to draw rather than to use his last matador.) Doublets count as single numbers only, that is, 2-2 can be played with a 5 and not with a 3; and therefore doublets are placed endwise in the layout. In scoring, the full number of doublet spots is counted. If the game is blocked, the player with the lowest count scores the number of the combined hands. With two or three players, seven dominoes are drawn to start; with four players, five dominoes make up the hand. The highest double or the one with the highest domino places the set. Game is 100 points.

Variations

Many variations in rules exist in dominoes. Some sets use bones up to 9-9 and others as high as 12-12. In draw, sometimes the player with the highest doublet starts the game; in some versions he is not required to make a play. In some games the last two bones may never be drawn from the boneyard. In scoring any variant, sometimes only the difference between the players' totals are counted when neither goes domino.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)