Domino rules

Domino rules

In the article “Domino rules” we will tell in detail about classical and international (sports) rules of dominoes, we will also talk about different strategies in the match.


#DominoRules #ClassicalDominoes #SportsDominoes


The game of dominoes was invented in China in ancient times, and the popularity of the game has not diminished to this day around the world. Dominoes consist of 28 chips, and on each half of the chips is printed the number of points from 0 to 6, and on seven of them there is a blank value.

Since the game of dominoes is one of the most popular and fascinating logical games, it has a large number of different rules. In this article we will look at the classic and international (sports) rules of the game, strategies and some interesting facts.

Classic domino rules

From 2 to 4 players take part in the game (1 against 1, each for himself when playing in threes, pair against pair in the game of 4). They play a regular set of dominoes of 28 chips up to 101 points, but by agreement it is possible to extend the game up to 150, 200 or 250 points. The winner of the game is the one who first collects the coveted number of points.

Dominoes set (28 pieces)
Dominoes set (28 pieces)

All the chips are turned face up and mixed thoroughly on the table. Then each player draws 1 chip and shows its value to the others. The player who draws the highest double (5|5, 6|6) will go first.

If the players do not have a double at all, the one who has the highest denomination on the chip (5|6 or 5|4, etc.) wins. Thereafter, the one who won the previous game will go first.

After the draw, the chips on the table are mixed again. If the game involves 2 players, each player takes 7 chips from the common pile (the so-called bazar). If the game involves 3 or 4 players, then 5 chips.

The player who has the right of the first move, puts the face in the center of the table the smallest double in the presence (1|1). The game cannot be started with an empty double. If a player does not have a double, he puts a chip with the smallest denomination.

First move in dominoes
First move in dominoes

The next player clockwise (left handed) must place a chip on the table with a similar denomination on one end. For example, to the 1|1 double, all players place a chip with the value 1 on one end.

A second move in dominoes
A second move in dominoes

The next player can play a chip from any end of the chain. Doubles in classical dominoes are placed vertically on the table, and regular chips – horizontally and perpendicular to the chain. If a player does not have a suitable chip with a value, he draws one chip from the bazar (general pile).

Placement of dominoes on the table
Placement of dominoes on the table

If the drawn chip is again not with a suitable value, the player draws another chip. And so on until they run out of chips. If a player still fails to find a matching chip, he can pass the turn to another player.

The game continues until one of the players runs out of chips or the so-called blocking (fish). After the player has placed his last chip on the table, the opponents count the number of points on the remaining chips in their hands, and their sum is awarded to the player who won the party.

Domino scoring
Domino scoring

Fish is a player’s move when he lays the last (seventh) chip of a numbered series on the table, and at both ends of the lays there are chips of the same series. The winner is the player or team that has the least amount of points in hand. As in a normal draw, the winners record the sum of all remaining chips in their hands. If a player has only an empty double in hand, it equates to 25 points.

After the completed game begins a new game, and so on until one of the players or the team does not score 101 points. These are the basic rules of the game of classical dominoes. However, there are also international (sport) domino rules, which are slightly different from the classical version.

Sports domino rules

Sports domino is a board game in which 4 people participate. The participants are divided into pairs and compete with each other. To win the game, you need to score a certain number of points specified in the rules of a particular competition, usually 200 points.

The main differences between a sports domino and a classic one:

  • Players are given 7 chips in their hands at once. Thus, there is no bazar in the game. The absence of the necessary chip automatically turns into a pass.
  • One game is allotted from 30 to 50 minutes.
  • The players in the game walk on the right hand, i.e. counterclockwise.
  • An empty double at the end earns 10 points.
  • In the next round, the player who is on the right hand of the player who went first in the previous round goes first.
  • If the points are equal, a draw is declared.

Strategies in dominoes

When playing dominoes, strategy and game planning are very important. Some participants try to get rid of the dice with the highest number of dots (points) at once to reduce the chances of their opponents in case of victory.

Other strategic approaches are based on discovering the number series. For example, putting a chip with a certain number that is already present on the table in 5-6 variations. The best strategic move is considered to be the fish move.

Experienced players prefer to analyze the situation on the playing field and strategically develop moves for several steps ahead. For example, a player can hold back some number to create possible problems for opponents in the future.

The rules of dominoes are very simple, but the strategic aspects make it fascinating and interesting. You can learn to play the game in one evening, but at a professional level you can play after several years of hard training.

Domino rules (video)

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