How to Play Original Dominoes

By Ainsley Patterson

Dominoes were first carved from ivory or animal bones and then given pips of ebony. Because of the pieces' resemblance to Venetian Carnival masks that were white with black spots known as domini, the game was named dominoes. There are many versions of dominoes, but the original dominoes game is the most commonly played. To play this classic game, find an opponent and before you know it you will be talking about "blanks" and "aces" like an old dominoes pro.

Place the dominoes face down in the center of the table and shuffle them around until thoroughly mixed.

Have the other player take 7 dominoes from the center of the table and take 7 dominoes for yourself. Each player should then stand his dominoes up on their long sides so that only he can see the values on the faces of his dominoes.

Tell the other player your highest double value domino and then have her tell you her highest double value; the player with the highest value double domino goes first, placing the highest double on the table face up. If neither player has a double then the highest domino between the two players becomes the opening play. For example, one player may call out 6-5, 6-4, 6-3, and so on until one of the players has the domino being called out.

Lay a domino with a value that is the same as one of the values on one of the ends of the first domino played so that the two like values are up against each other, it doesn't matter which way it faces. The object is to make the exposed ends of the dominoes played add up to a multiple of 5. Whenever a player scores then the player keeping score should add that score to his total score.

Pick a domino up from the pile if you don't have a domino that can be played and continue to do this until you have a domino that you can play. Play that domino, keeping all the rest. If you pick up all the dominoes in the pile and you still can't play then pass your turn until you can make a play.

Continue playing until a player uses all her dominoes, both players pass so neither player can make a play, or until a player reaches a score of 50 or 100, whichever you decide before the game begins. If a player runs out of dominoes before a score of 50 or 100 is reached, then total value of the dominoes left in the other player's hand is added to the score of the player who used all her dominoes and play starts all over again.

About the Author

Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Ainsley Patterson has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles appear on various websites. She especially enjoys utilizing her more than 10 years of craft and sewing experience to write tutorials. Patterson is working on her bachelor's degree in liberal arts at the University of Michigan.