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What Games are Played with Dominoes?

Diana Bocco
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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Dominoes are game pieces sold in sets of 28. Each piece, known as a bone or a tile, consist of a rectangular piece divided in the middle with a line. On each side of the line, a number of spots (from one to six) make it possible to play a combination of numbers. Some tiles are also blank. Most dominoes are now made of plastic, but in the past, a variety of materials, including bone, metal, and wood, were used.

There are many different games that can be played with dominoes. The most common game consists of players drawing pieces to match the last one placed on the table. Players are "dealt" a number of tiles at the beginning of the game, which they try to match to the previous piece played. Players keep drawing until no pieces are left or until a match is made. The player that has no dominoes left in his possession at the end of the game is the winner. If all players have tiles left, the number of dots in the pieces are counted. The player with the most points loses the round. There are usually a set number of points to reach, such as 101. The first player to reach that number is out of the game. Rounds continue until all players except one have been eliminated. Variations of this dominoes game include Chicken Foot and Private Train, where players are required to create specific forms when playing their tiles.

Another popular game that can be played with dominoes is 42. In this game, the players' objective is to win "tricks" or bets. These bets are placed by taking a tile and bidding it, face-down, on the table. All pieces are then turned and the highest one wins. The game is played in two opposing teams of two people each. The rules of 42 are complex, but the final result is simple: the team that prevails with the most tricks is the winner. Muggings, also known as Five Up, is another dominoes game based in numeric additions. In Muggings, a player earns a point every time all dots on a tile played add up to a multiple of five.

Dominoes are also used to create chains which are then toppled in succession until all titles have fallen. This game, known as "the domino effect," is a competitive hobby practiced around the world. An annual exhibition of toppling dominoes has been held in The Netherlands since 1986. The world record, which was set in 2006, consisted of a chain of 4,079,381 dominoes.

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Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.
Discussion Comments
By MrsPramm — On Aug 20, 2013

I used to love setting up dominoes to knock them down when I was a kid. I didn't even realize there was another purpose to dominoes, although it's kind of obvious they don't need those dots on them to use them for the domino effect.

We never had that many though, so unfortunately I was a bit limited when it came to making patterns.

By croydon — On Aug 19, 2013

@clintflint - Really, one of the most simple games people can play with dominoes is a game of matching, where you have all of them face down and have to match the tiles together in order to turn them over.

That helps kids with their memory skills, but you can also make it a bit more relevant and get them to count the numbers before they can officially match the two tiles.

Another way to use dominoes is with what they call a "quick image". The aim of this is to flash several tiles quickly and get the students to tell you how many dots there are altogether.

This teaches them strategies in quick addition, as well as potentially leading them into multiplication if you do it well.

By clintflint — On Aug 18, 2013

A dominoes set is really good equipment for teaching children about numbers. This is especially true for younger children, but older ones can benefit from them as well.

People don't realize how effective games can be to teach kids about different concepts. If they are having to add numbers in order to win games, or even just to keep score, they practice their math skills without even realizing it.

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
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