How to Play Dominoes the Game of Kings

Dominoes is an ancient games

Matt and I are a very quiet couple, we do enjoy a nice meal together either at home or at a restaurant. We go to the synagogue and we take in an art show now and then. Matt is an accountant and he is a painter as well. I am a writer and researcher, our talents do blend together well and enhance our time together.

However, we do have slightly different tastes when it comes to games, I am crazy over scrabble. I used to play it all weekend with a friend years back when I was able to get around easier, and he loves asnef, (sorry I don't know how to spell it). Basically it is a game of dominoes played in his homeland of Iraq.

Matt tells me when he was growing up you would see all the men playing this game in the cafes and the strategy and the stakes could be quite high. I can just imagine the men in their Arabic headdress smoking the long pipe, (Hookah, ghelyan, or narghile,) and intensely playing this game. I find the game is rather fast paced and he always wins. Even when his son comes over to play he may also win, but I am totally a loser at the game.

Perhaps it is a game that must be played from childhood to master. Dominoes have been a popular game of Kings for centuries. The oldest known set was found in the ruins of Thebes, in Egypt. It was found in Tutankhamen's tomb dating back to 1355 B.C. It is now displayed in the King Tutankhamen's Museum, Cairo, Egypt.

There was also a 32-piece set that dated back to China circa 1100 AD. The game of dominoes was quite popular in the East before it made its way to the Western world. The game of dominoes debuted in France and Italy in the 18th century, moving on to England and eventually America.

President Lyndon B. Johnson was a domino player. He enjoyed the game with his Texan friends. However, not much is really known about the origins of this game of princes and kings. Historians believe that the game’s name was derived from 'dominus', Latin for "master or lord."

The domino pieces were originally made from wood and bone carvings. Today, they are black tiles with dots resembling dice but more rectangular and flatter. There are several varieties of dominoes played all over the world, like Matt's Asnef, and Chinese dominoes, but in Western countries, we tend to have smaller sets with just 28 tiles instead of 32. However, we do have variations of games to choose from.

Dominoes is a mathematical game and math has never been my forte. I wish I could explain the game of Asnef to you or any domino game for that matter. I am such a lousy player I do not want to turn you into one as well. Get the game read the rules and have fun, is the best advice that I can offer.

As for Matt, he may not be a king, or even a president, but he is certainly the king of dominoes in our house.


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carol roach
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Posted on Sep 12, 2009
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Posted on Sep 12, 2009