The Rules and Common Variations of Domino


You’ve probably heard of domino before. But what exactly is it and how is it played? This game is based on tiles, and unlike the typical European and Chinese versions, the Chinese variety is longer. The winning player is determined by the number of pips on their opponent’s tiles. Here, we’ll cover the Rules and Common Variations of domino. Hopefully, you’ll be able to play it with ease, too.

Chinese dominoes are longer than typical European dominoes

The origin of the domino game dates back to the thirteenth century, when it was known as gwat pai, tim pai, or nga pai. In written documents from this period, the game was first mentioned. While the Chinese version of the game is longer than its European counterpart, its name was derived from a Chinese variation of the game, “pai gow,” which is also played with dice.

The game of dominoes has a long history in China. European travelers from the Renaissance reported playing Chinese dominoes, which are still popular in Asian countries today. The earliest extant manual on dominoes, written in Chinese, is credited to Qu You (circa 1119-1125). Another text, Xie Zhaozhe (1567-1624), mentions a Chinese game with a similar name and origin. While European dominoes are rectangular, Chinese dominoes have a square board with colored and drilled spots.

Western dominoes are scored by awarding the number of pips on opposing player’s tiles to the winner

The first person to play the game lays a tile on the table face up and then must make one of his or her own matching the first tile with the second tile. Some variations of the game allow players to join tiles to all four sides. Doubles are laid perpendicular to the line and counted when they are joined to both ends.

In Western dominoes, the winning player is awarded the pips on the tiles of his opponent’s hand. If a player’s hand has more than two tiles, he or she may pass and add them to his or her hand. A player can signal the game by tapping twice on the table or saying “go” or “pass” as the appropriate.


The basic rules of domino are fairly straightforward. Each player begins with a fixed number of tiles and expands the playing surface as they lay their dominos. When laying dominos, each player can leave one tile if it has a match on the opposite end. If he or she does not have any tiles with matching numbers, he or she must discard all his or her tiles. A game of domino is over when one player reaches the last domino.

When playing dominoes, it is important to keep in mind that the goal is to create enclosed spaces, called ‘cells’. Each ‘cell’ has an area of half a domino tile and a digit. When a cell is created, the player earns a point. A graphic illustration below shows an example of cell creation using Game Option 1. Blanks are wild cards in dominoes and can connect to themselves.

Common variations

The game of dominoes is a popular variant of the card game solitaire. Originally, this game was played by Muslims to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards. There are many variations of the game, each with its own distinct rules and characteristics. One of these variations is called skillful dominoes, where the object is to reach a pre-set number of points, usually 61. Each player has a hand of dominoes. Matching an open end occurs with the matching of one or more dominoes. A player scores points if the number of pips is divisible by five or three.

Western dominoes date back to the 18th century and were introduced to England by French prisoners. They are commonly used in positional games, where players place dominos edge-to-edge against each other in a sequence that is determined by a set total. This game has many variations, such as playing dominoes with a metal pin or pivot. Some books even feature Victorian-style engravings and contemporary color photographs of the game.