Bingo at the Bronx Zoo – Dominoes at the Bronx Zoo

Dominoes is a multi-game family of tile-and-rug-based board games played using domino tiles. Each domino is normally a flat rectangular tile with an even line dividing it into two triangular ends. The ends are usually bare or have one or more empty spots. The name domino comes from the Italian word domino, which means large and ample.


There are many different varieties of dominoes, each with its own distinctive feel and flavor. The most common type of game is the “boneyard” version in which the object is to knock all the tiles off the board so that they form a conical pattern, thus landing on a specific spot. Most of the popular domino games in existence have the domino effect where all the tiles fall and form a conical pattern.

Many variations of the boneyard game have been created over the years, making the collection of these dominoes much larger than the original single domino set. The traditional version of the boneyard game has dominoes divided into pairs, usually two conical pairs. In the newer games, the pairs are expanded to singles (three, four, or five) or doubles (six, seven, or eight). There can also be several pips in a single domino.

Dominoes with more pairs or fewer pips can also be played. The classic version is played with one deck of cards, the dominoes falling in pairs, each one receiving three points for a straight match (where each domino lands on exactly either of its two squares). The player who lands on the conical square first, always gets an extra point. Pips are allowed, though they decrease the chances of a domino landing on its own two squares for a straight match.

In the newer version of boneyard games, double six’s are used instead of single six’s to create a domino pattern. Each player receives a card face down, then chooses whether to play a single domino or double six. Once all players have chosen, the dominoes are placed onto the playing area in a conical shape, with their six faces towards the player on the left. The winner is the player with the most pairs or more dominoes in a straight match up with the other players. In multiples, the winner is the player with the most pairs, then the others add up to determine who wins.

A variation of the boneyard game involves two teams of dominoes, each team playing different versions of the same game. Dominoes are dealt from the boneyard in the usual fashion, one at a time, alternating with bingo cards. The first team to reach twenty-one points wins, and everyone else at the current point will lose one point. The last domino is discarded, and the new dominoes are set forth in a new conical shape facing the players in the starting position. They are thrown into the boneyard and a new conical pattern is created, this time the first team to reach twenty-two points wins.