DOMINOES: History, Domino Tiles, and Types of Domino Games

Okay, Just a rapid question for you guys- What do you understand by Dominoes?

No, it’s not the song Domino by Jessie J nor is it the Pizza Company Domino’s.

Okay, another outrageous one for you guys.

I’m assuming you all are updated on the new forms of technological connectivity. Why would I say that? 

Well, You all might have an Instagram Account, and you might have seen a few reels where people decorate romantic birthday surprises using dominoes if you guys ever paid attention to those reels.

What I am trying to bring to you is the Gambling Game- Dominoes.

Ever played that?

Let me enlighten you with this game of Dominoes.

We’ll be reading about What is the game of dominoes, what is a domino, the history of dominoes, dominoes tiles, and the 5 types of dominoes games.

What are Dominoes?

Dominoes is a group of one of the tile-based games played with gaming tiles known as dominoes.

Is Dominoes a form of the game of dice?


Since Dominoes also represent the six numbered pips in tile form and the dice games also include dice with six numbered pips, so, Dominoes can also be considered within the dice games family.

What is a Domino?

A Domino is a rectangle-shaped tile that has lines dividing in the middle into two halves and both halves are squares, which are marked/engraved with a certain number of dots, also known as pips or they are blank.

The flip side of the same domino is either clean or has a certain branding design engraved on it.

A conventional domino set consisting of a total of 28 rectangular tiles, which are also known as rocks, pieces, bones, stones, cards, men, or just dominoes. All 28 tiles have numbers engraved on them from zero to six.

A domino set is somewhat similar to dice and that’s why it can also be appropriate to say that it is a dice game.

People also play Domino Toppling using domino pieces and at times just regular clean rectangular tiles.

History Of Dominoes

The modern Dominoes date to the eighteenth century, in Italy which is different from Chinese dominoes as Chinese dominoes have been the first-ever dominoes ever played with. In African and Chinese cultures, it is believed that dominoes were used for divination.

The name domino derives itself from a carnival costume from Venetian Carnival, a white mask with a black hooded robe. 

Also known as Pupai, domino tiles were developed in China during the 12th or 13th century.

There is a book named Myriad of Treasures by Zhang Pu where he describes people playing dominoes by laying them as pupai.

Domino’s Games such as Tien Gow, Che Deng, Pai Gow, etc, were quite a thing back in China.

The difference between the Chinese dominoes and the European modernized dominoes is that Chinese dominoes were a 32-piece set and had each face engraved with numbers while European dominos is a 28-piece set and has blank faces in them too.

Chinese dominoes set has a division of the tiles in two suits known as civil and military.

It was during the eighteenth century that Italy saw a rise in the game of domino, initiating the spread of the domino game to France, Germany as well as Austria.

And the popularity of dominoes in France led to the spread of the game in England which is believed to be spread by the French war prisoners.

And when the game of dominoes got popularized in England, it did not really was the same as the Chinese game of dominoes, as the European version of the game of dominoes did not contain civil and military suits. The European version involved two to four players playing blocking games.

The American version made three new versions of the game of dominoes, around the 1860s, namely- Muggins, Bergen and Rounce, Fives with the addition of another Cribbage feature, along with the European versions, that is, the Block Game and The Draw Game.

All of these games are still played around the states while the games have now evolved into Mexican Train, Chicken Foot, Five Up, etc.

About Domino Tiles

Domino, as we discussed above, are rectangular in shape and are divided into two squares by engraving a black/white line in between them and each section has numbers from zero to six engraved on them as dots/pips/spots.

Dominoes are also known as pieces, tiles, cards, bones, and tiles.

Domino tiles are twice the length with respect to the width.

The total number of spots on a domino tile is also known as the weight of the tile or rank of the tile, that is the total value of the numbers on a particular domino tile.

And that’s how players call a few domino tiles heavier than others, what they mean by this is that the value/rank of the tile is more than the other.

And according to this, there are particular names that have been given to the tiles.

For example, a tile with the same value at both ends is known as a Doublet or a Double (such as a double-zero, or a double-one), a tile consisting of different values on both sides is referred to as a Single, and a tile with two and five dots on them are known as deuce-five or five-deuce, 5-2 or 2-5.

A single tile is a member of two suits, for example, a tile consisting of five and zero belongs to both the suit of fives and the suit of blanks.

Also, if a domino tile has two same values on both sides, say six, then it belongs to the suit of doubles as well as the suit of sixes.

The domino sets that are commercially popular are the double-nine consisting of 55 tiles and the double-six consisting of 28 tiles.

There are also larger/longer domino sets, but they are usually kept for players who are interested in a long game of dominoes.

Five Types Of Domino Games Played Across The World

Most domino games are layout games in which the players match tiles from their hands to a tableau/layout present in the middle of the domino table. 

The most popular domino games that are loved across the world are

  1. Matador
  2. All Fives, or Muggins
  3. Texas 42
  4. Concentration
  5. Domino Whilst
  6. Chicken Foot
  7. Double Fives
  8. 5s and 3s
  9. Mexican Train

The domino games are categorized mainly into blocking games, scoring games, trick and trump games, proprietary games, and fishing games.

There are basically 5 types of domino games played across the world.

Let’s read about the list of the games that are played with dominoes, shall we?

Blocking Domino Games

Most of the domino games that are played in the gambling industry are usually blocking games.

Blocking games are played with the goal to empty one’s hand while blocking the opponent’s hands and the score is determined by counting the spots/pips in the losing hands.

What are the different blocking games in the game of dominoes?

The list of blocking Games in Dominoes includes

  1. Block Game
  2. Cyprus
  3. Maltese Cross
  4. Chickenfoot
  5. Matador
  6. Mexican Train
  7. Sebastopol
  8. Spinner
  9. Tiddly Wink
  10. Spinner
  11. Trains
  12. Draw Games

Scoring Domino Games

Scoring games are a bit different than blocking games.

The scoring in these games happens during the gameplay, either by emptying one’s hands, or certain moves and strategies.

And while the tiles are being laid down on the table, the player who shouts “domino” the first is the one who gets the opportunity to pick up an extra domino to his advantage.

What are some popular scoring games in dominoes that are played around the world?

The list of some popular scoring games in dominoes are

  1. Bergen
  2. 5s and 3s
  3. Muggins

Trick and Trump Domino Games

Trick and Trump games are played in finite rounds known as tricks, which gives us the winner (also known as the Taker) of that particular trick.

The objective of the trick and trump games is to win the most number of tricks/rounds.

What are some trick and trump games played by people around the world?

The list of trick and trump games played around the world include

  1. Bingo
  2. Texas 42
  3. Double Fives

Proprietary Domino Games

Proprietary Games are the type of domino games that use proprietary tiles.

What are some popular proprietary domino games played across the world?

Some popular proprietary domino games played across the world are-

  1. Rivers, Roads, and Rails
  2. Bendomino

Fishing Domino Games

One of the most popular fishing domino games is Concentration.


Dominoes are one of the classic games that are popular in the gambling community since the


Knowing how to play the game of dominoes can be an advantage to increase your chances of winning. 

And even if you don’t win, it should not matter, as the idea of playing dominoes is to enjoy the game and the vibe of refreshment it brings.

professor samuel rodriguez
Professor Samuel Rodriguez

Professor Samuel Rodriguez, armed with a Ph.D. in Cultural History from Oxford University, embodies the essence of casino gaming history. His expertise spans civilizations, tracing the intricate evolution of gambling through centuries. His scholarly pursuits have uncovered the origins, cultural influences, and transformations of popular casino games, enriching our understanding of their historical significance. As an esteemed speaker at international conferences, Professor Rodriguez shares his profound insights into the diverse tapestry of casino gaming history, captivating audiences with his in-depth knowledge.

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