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One-Arm Joe Domino Game Rules and Directions

One-Arm Joe is a simple block-style domino game. It has simple rules and goes relatively quickly. You can play this game with little kids.

One-Leg Joe Domino Games
Playing One-Leg Joe

Come see our 10 Great Domino Games for Children Blog for more Domino Game Ideas.


  • A block-type domino game
  • Two to Four Players using a double-six domino set but large sets can be used to accommodate more players.
  • Domino Racks are a perfect addition for this game. Though not required, they make play much easier for little ones and keep your dominoes upright when the table gets bumped. The racks in the pictures can be found HERE.


  1. The dominoes are placed face down and “shuffled”
  2. Next, each player draws 3 tiles
  3. Any remaining tiles become the “boneyard” and may be drawn as play continues.
  4. The first player sets down a domino to start play. It doesn’t have to be a double.
  5. The next player lays a domino on only one open end of the leading domino. The domino played must connect with a matching number of pips (that is the domino term for the dots on the domino) Play continues with dominoes only being added onto the one end of the domino layout. This one “arm” is how the game got its name.  If a player lays a double he/she has another turn or has to pass to the next player. If another player can not play on the double then he/she must draw form the “boneyard” until a tile can be played.
  6. As play continues, if a player does not hold a tile in his hand with the correct number of pips, therefore, cannot make the next play, he/she must draw from the boneyard until a domino is drawn that can be played or until there are no more tiles available.
  7. Once a player has dominoed by playing their last tile, or the game is unable to continue because no player is able to set a tile, the round is over. The player who dominoed or has the lowest total of pips left in their hand, is the winner of that round.
  8. Scoring: The winner of the round adds up the total number of pips on all the other players’ dominoes and then subtracts the total number of pips on the dominoes in his/her hand.
  9. Continue playing rounds until someone earns 20 points (or whatever point goal you set at the beginning.)


Some Fun Domino Vocabulary (Cause it is just more fun to call them pips) 

Pips – The name for the dots on the dominoes.

Spinner – A double in the layout which may played on both sides and both ends. Each domino game has a rule about spinners: a) There are no spinners; b) Only the first double played is a spinner; or, c) All doubles are spinners.

Boneyard – The tiles that are purposely not drawn at the beginning of the game, so that players can draw from the boneyard during the game when they do not hold a playable tile in their hand. If tiles are all distributed in the game except for a pile of “extras” that can’t be evenly distributed among the players, this pile of dominoes are referred to as “widows”.

Arm- A row of dominoes in a straight line in the layout of a matching or scoring game.

Come see our 10 Great Domino Games for Children Blog for more Domino Game Ideas.

Domino Holders at Lady and the Carpenter
Card Holders (Set of 2)