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How to Play Dominoes

Medha Godbole
There are many variations of dominoes, the most common being the 'draw game'. Know more about the domino effect.
Ever heard about the domino effect? Perhaps that term was taken from the game of dominoes! Dominoes is a collective term for gaming pieces which form a domino set. A domino set is used to play different games, just like cards.
The conventional Sino-European domino set includes 28 dominoes, which are called bones, cards, tickets, stones, spinners, or tiles, depending on the region it is being played in. Overall, it is a very interesting and fun game. The most widely-played form is the draw game. Here's how you play dominoes and experience the domino effect.

Playing Dominoes

1. Check if the arsenal for playing is in place. There should be 28 dominoes, starting from double blank to double six. Now place them on the table, faces down, and until they are randomly placed, shuffle them. These dominoes can have no dots, or have dots numbering between 1 and 6. The dots are called pips.
2. Take 7 dominoes out of those 28, and your opponent takes the same number. Then the player who has the highest double will play first.
3. Now, next to the first domino, lay a domino with the like value. The end does not matter; just make sure that the two dominoes are touching. In case you do not have a domino corresponding to the value of the one laid, pick one from the pile. This unused pile of dominoes is termed as 'bone yard'. Make sure that your opponent does not see them.
4. As the game progresses, if no more dominoes are left to draw from the pile, pass. If you become the first person to run out of dominoes, you will win the session. In other cases, if everyone passes, end the session. Here, the individual with the lowest score wins.
5. Count the score by the number of dots which are there on the tiles left with you. You can also end the game with a player reaching 50 points, if there are 2 players. If the game is played between three or more players, end the game once a player gets to one hundred. Here again, the person with the lowest score wins.

Playing Mexican Dominoes

1. Mix the dominoes, tipped upside down.

2. Each player takes 12, and sets them on the edge. Only that player can see them, and no one else. This is something like we arrange letters on a stand while playing scrabble.
3. Each player then checks if he or she has a double 12. The player having this will place it in the center of the table, thus beginning the round. The double 12 is the 'train station'.

4. If no one has a double 12 on him or her, until that is found, dominoes are drawn from the bone yard.
5. Now, with the dominoes in your hand, form a train as large as you can. But before that, you would need to organize the dominoes.

6. The starter dominoes or train engines should be kept separate, because you would need them only to start your Mexican train. This is very important to learn as far as dominoes is concerned.
7. Fit in doubles in your train, if possible.

8. The players will now start laying down their train, in a clockwise manner. This is a single row of dominoes, which starts from the train station, in the center. Further, it will extend in the direction of the player, which will indicate that it is his or hers.
9. Any player having a 12 domino is permitted to lay it down off the double-12 domino (train center) anytime his turn comes to start a Mexican train.

10. Play will come to an end as soon as a player does not have any dominoes left.
11. Penalties is the number of 'pips' left on the cards you have. Obviously, if a player has consumed all the dominoes, he would have no penalty points.
Dominoes is great for kids too, since it makes them familiar with numbers, and can be an interesting indoor game. So then, are you ready to revive your memories (if you have forgotten) of this classic game of dominoes and get hooked on?