Rules of Express Dominoes

How to play Express Dominoes


Dominoes is a game that could be related to dice. It is believed to have originated from Asia and is thought to date back centuries. Its current form does not seem to have arrived in Europe until the mid-18th century, when it was introduced by the Italians.

It is extremely popular in Latin America, particularly in Caribbean areas such as Puerto Rico and Cuba.


It is played with 28 rectangular tiles. Each tile is divided into two parts, with each side bearing a number between 0-6. The tiles bear all the possible combinations.

It can be played by 2, 3 or 4 players, or in pairs.

The aim of the game is to lay all of your pieces on the table before anyone else does, and to win points. When a player wins a round, they add together all of the points on the tiles that their opponents have not been able to get rid of.

The game ends when a player or pair reaches the number of points required according to the game in hand.

How to Play

In Domino Express (inspired by the international blocking version), each player receives 7 tiles to start a round. They can only play with these tiles – they may not take from the stockpile. If a player cannot lay any tiles, they lose their turn. If no player can lay a tile, the game ends and the person with the least points wins.

The player with the highest double starts the round. (If there are 4 players, the double 6 always starts). If none of the players have a double, the player with the highest tile starts the round. From this point on, players take it in turns to play counter clockwise.

The player who starts the round is the “hand”. This is an important concept when it comes to strategy, as the hand usually has the advantage in the round.


On their turn, players lay one tile next to one of the available sides, so that the points on one side of the tile match the points on the side it is now touching. Doubles are placed sideways to make it easier to spot them.

Once a player has laid a tile, their turn is over, and the next player takes their turn.

If a player cannot lay any tiles, they lose their turn. If no player can lay a tile, the game ends and the person with the least points wins.

Ending a Round

A round continues with players laying their tiles until one of the following situations arises:

  • Domino

When a player lays their last tile on the table, that player has “dominated” the round. If the game is played individually, the player who won the round adds together their opponents’ points. When playing in pairs, all the players’ points are added up, including their partner’s.

  • Close

There are cases when no players are able to continue play. At this point, the game is “closed”. Players add up the points on their remaining tiles and the player or pair with the fewest points wins, adding up the points in the usual way.

Sometimes there is a draw. In this case, the player or pair who is the hand or closest to the player who is the hand wins.

Continuing Rounds

In the following rounds, the player who starts the game is next to play. They can start with any tile they wish, even if it is not a double.

Ending the Game

The game ends when a player or pair has reached the number of points required to win.

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