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Taxonomy of Domino Games, Solitaires and Puzzles

Joes Celko contributed a chapter on the taxonomy for domino games, solitaires and puzzles in 2001. He wrote "I needed an orderly system for putting games, solitaires and puzzles into chapters for a projected book in a fashion which would make sense. But a taxonomy also suggests new possibilities, by allowing you to ask, 'what if' questions in the options chosen in an old game, or puzzle."

By 2020 the collection of domino games at pagat.com had been considerably enlarged, a new set of index pages was introduced, largely based on Joe Celko's classification, and the sections of this chapter were explanded and migrated to other pages. In 2022 a further page was published displaying the relationships of games and classes of games as a browsable network.

Connecting Games

These are the classic Western domino games in which tiles are played to a layout, normally matching end to end.

Meld and Combination Games

Certain combinations of tiles score points, without any concept of connecting the tiles. These are games derived from card games like rummy, poker or blackjack. Many of the Chinese games are in this family and the king of these Asian tile games is Mah Jong [not itself a domino game but a game using Chinese money cards in tile form]. This class is now subdivided into

Trick Taking Games

Games in which dominoes are used rather like playing-cards to play a series of 'tricks' in which each player plays a tile and the best tile wins.

Miscellaneous Games

The nice part about having a miscellaneous category is that you have the feeling you have covered and classified everything.

Solitaire Games and Puzzles

Domino games for one player.

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This page was contributed by Joe Celko (jcelko212@earthlink.net).   © Joe Celko, John McLeod 2001, 2022. Last updated: 3rd February 2022