The Origin of Dominoes

The game of dominoes is a family of tile-based games. Dominoes are rectangular tiles with two square ends marked with a number of spots. The object of the game is to place the domino in a row with a single piece at each end. A player has one turn to move each tile and then must play the remaining rounds to win the game. This article covers the Origin of the game and its rules and variations.


There are several theories about the origin of the domino game. Some think it was first played in Asia, while others believe it was created in Egypt during the era of Tutankhamen. However, the name domino is derived from the Latin word dominus, meaning ‘lord’ or’master.’ No matter where it came from, dominos have remained popular throughout history. Here is a closer look at the origin of the domino.


The Rules of Domino were originally developed in the early eighteenth century in France and Italy, but the game eventually found its way to England. The game was introduced to England by French prisoners. The objective of domino is to create enclosed spaces, or ‘cells,’ of domino tiles. Each cell scores one point. The graphic illustration below shows how to create cells using Game Option 1.


Materials for dominoes vary in nature, but there are some basic principles that can be applied to mass-produced and handmade ones. Modern materials include wood, plastic, stone, and metal. In addition, there are specialty materials, such as foam for giant yard dominoes. However, these are not the main focus of this article. We’ll cover some of the more common materials for dominoes and what they’re good for.


Several variations of domino are available. For example, all-fives is a variation in which the object of the game is to score a multiple of five. Double-six tiles award between five and twenty points. Likewise, playing all five end tiles earns the player a point. Double-six tiles are the easiest to score, but players must be careful not to get swayed by other players’ moves.

Origins in China

The Chinese have many stories about the origins of the domino. Legends tell of the invention of dominoes by Hung Ming, a heroic soldier who invented it to keep soldiers awake during night watches. Others claim the invention was done by Keung T’ai Kung, a military doctor. In spite of these conflicting stories, one Chinese physician says the game was invented by Fan Lai. One of his illustrations is from the popular romance novel, Thug chau lit kwok.

Similarity to Western card games

Chinese card games are more similar to domino than the Western variant. The earliest manual on the game is thought to have been written around the ninth century AD. Chinese players were inspired by games where tiles are used as a form of currency. In this way, dominoes have many similarities with card games found in Western societies. However, some differences do exist. The following is a brief description of each.