How to Play Dominoes


The word domino has several meanings, but it’s best known as a game in which players arrange pieces on a flat surface to form a sequence of steps leading to an end. The first player to complete the sequence scores by placing his or her last domino, usually a double, adjacent to another domino with matching ends (e.g., a one’s touch two’s). When all of the dominoes on a row are laid out, their ends can be connected to other pieces in several ways. Generally, additional tiles can only be placed against the long sides of a domino; however, some games allow additional pieces to be played against the short sides.

Although the game of domino has been around for centuries, it became a popular pastime in the mid-18th century. In fact, the name domino itself didn’t appear until then—the term is thought to have come from the French word for “masquerade.” The earliest record of the game of domino shows that it was used in Italy and France before becoming popular in England by the late 1700s, most likely brought over there by French prisoners of war.

Dominoes are usually made of either ivory or ebony, and they are colored to differentiate them from other pieces and enhance their beauty. The colors also make them easy to spot when they are arranged on the table. Dominoes can be used to play positional games in which each player takes turns placing a piece, or they can be used to create stunning visual displays.

While there are many variations on how the game is played, most of them involve scoring points by placing one domino after another in a line. Each domino has an open end and a closed end. Typically, only the dominoes with matching ends are scored: a one’s touch a two’s, for example. Occasionally, an overlapping piece counts as two dominoes; however, the rules of the game must be agreed upon before the game starts.

Lily Hevesh grew up playing domino with her family and friends, and she still loves it. The 20-year-old has built a global following by creating elaborate domino arrangements online. Her YouTube channel, Hevesh5, has more than 2 million subscribers, and she has worked on projects involving more than 300,000 dominoes. The largest of these creations take several nail-biting minutes to fall.

Hevesh has learned much about the science of dominoes, and she says there is one physical phenomenon that is essential for her creations: gravity. This force pulls a domino toward Earth, sending it crashing into the next one and starting a chain reaction.

Like dominoes, good tasks can have a ripple effect when they are completed. A good task is often a hard but important project that requires a large amount of time and energy to accomplish. If broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces, it is easier to get started and to finish the task. In business, a good domino may be an important project that can set the stage for future successes.