Domino is a game in which players place tiles, called dominoes or bones, edge to edge on a table. The dominoes are usually square and each has a value written on it in dots or spots, from one to nine, although some dominoes have no dots at all. Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide, but some games use only a single set of dominoes that are shorter than the standard size.
Each player takes turns adding a tile to the line of play. The first player sets his domino, and then each subsequent player adds a tile that matches an open end of the previous domino. The number of matching pips is counted and the total score is added to a players hand or to his score at the end of a game.
Many domino games are bidding games. In these, each player in turn places a domino, called a “set” or “down,” on a line of other dominoes with its face up and the pips facing up. A player may then play additional dominoes on that line of dominoes in a sequence to form a chain or pattern. A player who completes a chain or pattern is declared the winner.
There are also blocking games, in which each player puts a domino, called a “lefty” or a “righty,” on the line of other dominoes. This is a way to prevent other players from playing a domino with an open end. The resulting stacks are called a “block.”
Some domino games involve counting the pips on the dominoes left in the losers’ hands at the end of the game to determine the winner. This scoring method is known as the “domino count.” A rule variation some players agree to employ: Anytime a player plays a double, whether for the opening of the game or later in the game, he can play a second tile onto it before the next player makes his play.
Most Western dominoes are made from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl or MOP), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips (inlaid or painted). Some sets also use natural materials that offer a more unique look, such as marble, granite, soapstone, or woods such as ash, oak, redwood, and cedar.
Nick developed his own method of making dominoes using the tools in his grandmother’s garage—a drill press, radial arm saw, scroll saw, belt sander, and welder. His goal was to make dominoes that were simple enough to be manageable in a limited workshop space and detailed enough to call attention to the quality of his craftsmanship. The result was a set of dominoes that are both easy to follow and beautiful to behold.