Traditionally made of ivory or bone, European style dominoes have pips on each half of the face. Some dominoes are blank on one side and have a number on one end. These are called doubles, and they are the heaviest domino.
There are many versions of dominoes, from a single domino (which is played by the winner of a game), to four or five dominoes played by two or three players. Typically, the winner of a game is the player who reaches the target score. This can be achieved by awarding pips to the losing players’ tiles. In other versions, the losing players chip out their dominoes, and the winner is the player who has the least spots in their dominoes.
Before a domino game, all of the tiles must be shuffled. The first player will then choose a tile and place it face up in the middle of the table. The second player will then take the tile and place it on the table, matching one end to part of the first tile. The third player will then play a tile, and so on until the last player plays a tile.
If a domino has a number on both ends, that is a double. If it has a number on one end and another on the other end, that is a single. During the game, if one of the players’ dominoes is doubled, that player will receive pips on the opposite side. In this case, it is called a “stitched up” domino. In addition, if the player plays a domino with the same number on both ends, the player’s chain is referred to as a “stitched up” chain.
If a player’s domino chain has an open end, the player must play a tile to fill the gap. The first tile to be played is usually a double-six, which is the heaviest domino. The second tile is a double-five. The third tile is a six-five, and the fourth tile is a five-five. Depending on the game rules, the player may play any other domino to fill the gap.
If a player has no dominoes in his hand, he will draw from the unused tiles in the stock. After the draw, the player will lay his chosen domino face up in the center of the table, and the other players will see the number of tiles in his hand.
The player who has the highest double will lead with a double-six. The next highest double will lead with a double-five, and so on. The last player will play a double-four. If a player has a double-five in his hand, he may also play a double-four, and so on. In this way, the domino chain develops at random.
If the first player’s chain is doubled, he must position his domino such that the opposite end is perpendicular to the double. In some versions, players may play tiles horizontally and vertically, and the player must then make sure that the faces of all the tiles in the chain are identical. In other versions, players can join tiles to all four sides of the dominoes. In this way, the chain can become an “L”.
In a game of skillful dominoes, each player has a set number of points to attain. For instance, in the block game for two players, the player with the double-six set must play seven tiles. For each tile played, the player is awarded one point. In the Inuit game, the same is true.