A domino, also known as a card, is a small, rectangular block containing spots (pips), sometimes marked. These spots are arranged in a pattern, which is used to identify the individual domino. They are used for various games and are a popular variant of playing cards.
Dominoes were originally developed in China. The name “domino” is derived from the Latin word dominus, which means monastic hood or mask. Although some versions of the game require both partners to chip out, most of the games played with dominoes involve just one player, who moves and knocks tiles onto the playing area.
There are two kinds of dominoes, which differ slightly in their markings. One kind has a line of spots in the middle of the tile. Another has an open end, meaning that the piece has no spots at all. In both cases, the pieces are typically twice as long as they are wide.
Generally, each individual domino has six pips on each side, but some have no pips at all. This allows for 28 unique pieces. Depending on the size of the domino, these pieces can be stacked on top of each other, creating long lines, which is often used in some variations of the game.
Other types of dominoes allow the pieces to be connected at right angles to create a long “L”. Some versions of the game are played using a double-six set of dominoes, which have twelve pips on each side. Traditionally, European domino sets were made of bone, ivory, or ebony.
Initially, the game was played with ebony blacks. Spinners, which are generally metal, were attached to the face of the dominos. The spinners kept the pieces from scratching the tabletop. During the late 18th century, the domino game made its way to France and England.
Eventually, dominoes began to spread worldwide, and were introduced to the United States in the 1860s. Today, dominoes are still commonly used in games requiring a bit of luck. However, a large number of children prefer to play with them simply as toys.
Various games can be played with dominoes, including Mexican train, chicken foot, matador, and more. Most are adaptations of card games. Despite the various variants, there are several common rules that can be followed to make a game playable. Before beginning, players will often agree on a target score, and a player will then draw the appropriate number of tiles to reach that goal.
The first domino that a player plays is typically the double-six. Typically, the third tile is vertically placed. If the next player cannot match a tile to the other side, he or she will draw a new tile. Similarly, if the first domino in the line tips over, the next player will need to place a domino so it lands on a corresponding side of the previous domino.
To win a game, a player must achieve a specific score, usually by awarding pips on opposing player’s tiles. Alternatively, a domino may be flipped over, causing the entire line to topple over, which is not a desirable outcome. When the last player has no remaining tiles, the game is over.