The standard domino set for Double Six consists of 28 pieces. Get a set with larger pieces and spinners. Sets with the largest pieces of dominoes are called professional and jumbo, and they measure 1”x2”x3/8” and 1”x2”x1/2”, respectively. These larger pieces are easier to handle, and they can stand at the ends without falling over. The spinner, the small brass or aluminum pin in the middle of each piece, prevents the domino pieces from resting flat on the table. This helps protect the surface of the domino pieces and the table. In addition, pieces with spinners are easier to shuffle, because the pieces can spin or rotate on the spinners.
Dominoes come in wide variety of materials, colors and sizes. Earlier domino pieces were mostly made of ivory, animal bones, stone, hardwood, or ceramic clay. Modern commercial dominoes are usually made of synthetic materials, such as ABS, polystyrene plastics, acrylic, and other resin composites. With the many choices available, it is important to choose a domino set that is attractive, durable and practicable. The following information will help you with the decision.
Step 1: Material
The material is important in terms of the attractiveness and durability of the pieces. For instance, domino pieces made of fine ivory, stone or hardwood are both durable and attractive, but they are usually more expensive. Conversely, domino pieces made of synthetic materials are usually less expensive, but they are not as durable and attractive. Domino pieces should stand rough handling without losing material integrity or attractiveness, because players sometimes slam pieces on the table as emphasis of a play.
Puerto Rico Dominoes
Step 2: Color
While traditional pale colors are generally preferred, domino sets in colors such as red, blue and brown now are commonly available. When it comes to color, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But since colors vary in visibility, domino pieces made of certain colors are hard to see. For instance, a pale-colored piece with a dot of similar color would be hard to see, particularly under artificial lighting. There should be a strong contrast in colors between the dots and body of the piece, regardless of the colors used. A black domino piece with white dots illustrates the point.
Step 3: Size
Size is important, primarily for handling of the domino pieces. Domino sets usually come in size mini (9/32”X1 3/16”X3/16”), small (3/4”X1 ½”X9/32”), professional (1”X2”X3/8”), jumbo (1”X2”X1/2”), and tournament (1 3/32”X2 3/16”X ½”). It would be rare to find serious domino players playing with a set of mini or small dominoes. Kids, novices to the game, or travelers with limited playing space, commonly use these types of domino sets. Most domino players prefer professional, jumbo or tournament sets, because the pieces are easier to handle during shuffle, positioning and playing. For instance, when domino racks are unavailable, players usually stand the pieces in front of them. Only the bigger pieces would remain upright without readily falling on the table.
Step 4: Spinner
The “spinner”, the small pin located in the middle of a domino’s dividing bar, is generally made of metal and rounded off so as to avoid scratching the table top. When dominoes were made of two discrete materials (often ebony and ivory), the spinner was actually a small pin whose purpose was to hold the white ivory face to the dark ebony side of the domino. In other words, the purpose was purely mechanical. Today, the spinner’s use is mostly to protect the face of the domino pieces and table during the shuffle, and to facilitate the shuffling of the pieces. In this last function, the spinner acts as a pivot.
Juan R. Rivera, J.D., author of “Double six, dominoes for the entire family”