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The Downsides of Playing Dominoes: 14 Potential Disadvantages & Drawbacks

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

It might seem strange to think of how a game can have disadvantages, but there are a few drawbacks to playing group games like dominoes. Playing dominoes is an excellent way to encourage family time and to play without needing expensive electronic devices, but it won’t appeal to everyone. I’ve looked at some of the surprising disadvantages of playing dominoes.

Dominoes is a well-known and relatively simple game with tiles requiring several players and some flat space for gameplay. Drawbacks and disadvantages of dominoes include frustration regarding rules and skill levels. As a game that it’s played seated, it does little to promote fitness.

While dominoes is a relatively inexpensive game requiring few pieces, you might encounter some issues when playing. Whether it’s lost tiles, requiring new sets, or trying to explain the rules to an uninterested party, several things can make playing dominoes frustrating for you. However, once you know the things that could stand in the way of your enjoyment, it’s easier to avoid them.

These are the 14 disadvantages and drawbacks of playing Dominoes:

1. Most Dominoes Games Need at least Two People to Play

Unfortunately, it’s not that fun to play dominoes on your own. Most classic games of dominoes using a double-six set require 2-4 people to play. There are larger sets with tiles with higher numbers of pips, allowing for more players. There are some solitaire domino variations, but they are not well known.

2. You Need Space to Play Dominoes

Depending on the number of people playing, you will need enough space for the dominoes to be laid out end to end. Dominoes are laid out so that the number of pips on one end is matched to the same amount on another, creating long trains of dominoes. These trains can split off in multiple directions with a double tile, so you will need a large flat surface to accommodate all the trains.

3. Lost Domino Tiles Are Hard To Replace

Sometimes things go missing, and this includes domino tiles. If you are missing domino tiles, you won’t be able to play the game properly. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find and buy loose tiles as replacements. 

More often than not, you’ll need to buy a new domino set or look for second-hand tiles on sites like eBay and hope they match the ones you are missing. Luckily, domino sets are relatively inexpensive.

4. There Are Many Kinds of Dominoes Games

While most of us play a standard kind of domino game, usually known as ‘Fives‘, different types of blocking and scoring games can be played with dominoes. This is great for finding new play methods but can cause arguments if the players have learned different versions of the game.

5. Dominoes Games Can Take Time

Dominoes is not a very long game, but since you play several rounds before the points are tallied, it can take an hour or more to play. Of course, you can choose to play only one round if you are pressed for time, but much of dominoes’ enjoyment comes from the extended gameplay.

6. Dominoes Can Be Frustrating

Especially for younger players who might have trouble winning, dominoes can feel like a frustrating game. Since the best gameplay requires strategy and thinking about what tiles you hold versus what tiles your opponents are playing, this can discourage some players.

7. Teenagers Can Find Dominoes Boring

It might be easier to get people into playing dominoes when they are younger or older. Since it is not a flashy game, teenagers may be looking for something they think is more enjoyable. However, this is also a generalization, as many young people enjoy board games.

8. Dominoes Doesn’t Encourage Physical Fitness

Dominoes can be considered a board game that it’s usually played seated around a table or on the floor if more space is needed. There is not a lot of physical activity involved in playing dominoes. While this is advantageous if you’re looking for a quiet indoor game, it won’t encourage people to move around and keep fit.

9. People Can Cheat at Dominoes

The backs of dominoes are marked, so players have no idea the number of pips on the other side. This way, no player can know what another player holds. Sadly, some people use sets of marked dominoes to cheat. These marked sets allow players to tell what the tiles contain using devices such as infrared contact lenses.

10. Some People May Prefer Online Games to Dominoes

In today’s world, many people love to game online or play with their electronic devices. Often the idea of playing a physical board game holds little appeal. Dominoes might seem old-fashioned or dull in comparison. You may be able to interest them in online domino games. Still, these don’t have the same experience as playing with a group of people.

11. Dominoes Isn’t a Viable Career

The idea of playing a game as a career might seem strange, but consider that there are some games where becoming a grandmaster could earn you a decent salary. For example, chess is regarded as a sport, and a chess grandmaster could earn a decent wage competing and coaching. Dominoes has a much smaller gaming footprint, making it difficult to make a career.

12. Dominoes is a Game of Skill

In dominoes, the best strategy involves tracking which tiles other people play and reserving your matching tiles for better play later. It’s a game where math and memory skills are an advantage. Though many inexperienced players will play dominoes as a game of luck, it rewards patience and skill. This can frustrate younger players or those with poor memory or math ability.

13. Dominoes Can Become an Obsession

Much like any game, dominoes can become an obsession. In some cases, this is acceptable, and many competitive domino clubs around the world run local and international tournaments. Registration and attending tournaments will cost money, and the more obsessed a player becomes about dominoes, the less time they will spend on other activities.

14. Dominoes Can Encourage Gambling

Naturally, any game with a clear winner can encourage people to place bets for money. Still, some people with an addiction may find even the seemingly innocent game of dominoes too much of a lure. Some people consider dominoes the perfect gambling game because it combines luck and strategy.

All In All

Dominoes is a fun game that it’s often played with a group of people and requires very little equipment. However, it needs space for spreading out the dominoes and no missing pieces. Be sure to establish the rules of the games beforehand to ensure all the players are on the same page.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.