A Beginner’s Guide to Dominoes

Dominoes are a type of playing tile with a unique feature that distinguishes them from other types of tiles. Each domino features a line running down the middle that visually separates its ends into two squares. Each end is either blank or patterned with numbers of spots—called pips—that indicate the domino’s value, which ranges from six to none or blank. Like dice and playing cards, dominoes are used to play games of chance and skill.

Dominoes have become a part of popular culture and are now found in more places than ever before. They are even a featured component in several popular movies and TV shows, including A Knight’s Tale, The Matrix, and Breaking Bad. But despite their wide-spread popularity, many people don’t know how they’re made or how to use them. This article will introduce you to the world of domino, and teach you some basic rules and strategies that will allow you to enjoy these fascinating pieces of art.

Each domino has a set of numbers that correspond to different suits—three, five, seven, and eight. The value of each suit is determined by the number and arrangement of its pips, which are arranged in two symmetrical squares on either side of a central line or ridge. The value of a domino may also be described in terms of its rank or weight, which is the sum of the value of all its pips. The heaviest domino is one with the most pips, and the lightest is a blank or zero-valued domino.

In traditional domino games, players take turns placing dominoes in a line—a ‘domino train’—by matching the values of each domino’s pips to the adjacent ends of other dominoes in the line. When a train is complete, it becomes a ‘personal train.’ If no more dominoes can be added to the train, the player draws from the boneyard—a collection of spare dominoes that has been used during previous turns—to continue the game.

Dominos can be made in a variety of materials, including clay, polymer, wood, stone, and metal. Historically, they were most commonly made of ivory, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), or dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips. These natural materials offer a more unique and refined look than plastic sets, while the often heavier weight of these tiles gives them more tactile appeal.

While technology is a huge part of Domino’s success—half of the company’s employees work in software analytics—one physical phenomenon plays an equally important role in how Domino’s dominoes are created: gravity. This force pulls each knocked-over domino toward the ground, bringing it to rest in its new position and setting off a chain reaction. Watch a video below to see how this process works and learn some basics about the science of domino.