Strategies to Win Dominoes

By Greg Lindberg

Dominoes is a tile game that uses rectangular pieces with two numbers (represented by dots) shown on each side. Dominoes can be played as a blocking game ,where you must match all the pieces to other pieces in order to block your opponent from laying down any of his pieces. Dominoes most commonly refers to the drawing version of the game, where the object is to draw as many tiles as desired and not be able to pass until the stock is completely empty.

Scoring Methods

Before trying advanced strategies, it's important to comprehend advanced methods of scoring. Perform the hooking standard method by subtracting the difference of the smaller end from the bigger end of any tile that is a non-double tile. A non-double tile is a tile with unmatched ends or pips. An example of a non-double tile is a tile with three and six on it. Understanding the difference that accumulates with these tiles is necessary for understanding the scoring in the game and to know which tiles are best to match. Remember that since doubles don't have an amount in their difference, they add to the board count and never subtract from it. Adding non-double tiles to double tiles will result in a reduction of board score when leaving a smaller numbered end uncovered. Your best chance is to keep higher double numbers open if possible.

Offensive Strategy

A popular offensive method is called maintaining the initiative and involves scoring the most points. In order to do this, it helps to be able to keep track of the scoring in your head. When your opponent has the lower score, she will have very few tiles to try to score again with. This will also allow for more instances where your opponent will be forced to miss and give you another chance to score. Another offensive strategy is known as inducing with double, which involves adding non-double tiles to double tiles by multiples of fives. This strategy involve building a high score on the board and then lowering the score by blocking your opponent.

Defensive Strategy

One of the most popular defensive strategies is known as maintaining a low board count. The basic idea behind this strategy is simple enough. You choose to only lay down and hook low number tiles so that your opponent can't greatly increase his score by many points. The next best strategy is the blocking strategy of leaving no available hook ends open on the board. This is why it is best to save your tiles that have blank pips so you can end a chain. The other techniques for creating blocks against your opponent include creating "spinners," where you make a full square and stop a current chain.

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