How to Count the Board in Dominoes

By Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor
Ask a child to count the dots on the dominoes and then write the  number down for practice.

People enjoy the game of dominoes for its fun blend of strategy and chance. It also requires a good deal of arithmetic, which is uncommon among many other board games. One of the principle strategies in dominoes is called "counting the board." This basic procedure allows you to determine the number and potential location of all the remaining dominoes of a given number.

Find the highest number your set of dominoes shows. Some sets may only show numbers up to 5, while others may go all the way up to 12.

Add one to the number you found in Step 1. This is the total number of dominoes of each denomination in the set, including blanks. For example, a set of double-six dominoes has 7 blanks, 7 ones, 7 twos and so on.

Gather your dominoes in your hand and turn them over so that only you can see them.

Make note of which denominations you have in your hand. For example, you might have dominoes with twos, threes and eights, but none with fours or fives.

Count the number of dominoes of each of these denominations on the board.

Add the number of dominoes of each denomination in your hand to the number you counted on the board.

Subtract the number you came up with in Step 5 from the number you got in Step 2. This is the total number of dominoes still remaining to be played. Now you know how many pieces are either in the boneyard or your opponent's hand.


Improve your skill by counting the board throughout each of your games. Use your domino counts to determine who has control over the different arms of the board. This is the most important application of board counting and helps you make the most of your plays.