The domino is a rectangular block of bone or wood that has a number on each end. It is usually a single-sided tile, but it may be a double-sided tile, which has two identical numbers on the opposite side.
There are many different types of dominoes. Some are blank, while others are marked with a pattern of spots or pips. They are usually made of dark hardwood such as ebony or ivory. The size of the domino is typically about 1 inch wide and 3/8 inch thick.
To play, the player must place the tile on a flat surface. There is a line down the middle of the domino, and the pips are arranged in a certain manner on the other side. Count the number of pips on each side and note them to the opponent. This number will be used to score the game.
Dominoes can be played with different numbers, and the most popular sets are double six with 28 tiles, double nine with 55 tiles, and double fifteen with 136 tiles. The tiles are usually about 2 inches long. When they are first shuffled, the faces of the domino are protected by spinners. Spinners are generally metal and are designed to hold the materials together.
When a player is ready to play, he or she draws a domino. If there are no dominoes available, the player must draw from the unused tiles on the table. Normally, the first tile drawn is a double-six. Depending on the rules of the game, the second or third tile is the 6-6, 5-5, or 4-6. Unless a bonus condition is present, the player must play the tile onto the table.
A domino game starts with a platform of three or four dominoes. Each player takes turns placing his or her dominoes on the platform. Before playing, the players must agree on a target score. Typically, the highest score wins. In some versions, a winning partner must chip out to improve the chances of the other player winning.
After the first round, the player with the most matches wins the game. Players who are losing, though, count the pips on their hand. If there are fewer than a predetermined number of pips, the game ends. Other games give points based on the remaining number of pips on the opponents’ hand.
Various variants of dominoes are played, including trick-taking dominoes. In these games, the goal is to make a tower stable enough for the next player to knock it over.
The Inuit of Alaska and Canada play a similar game, but using bones, rather than cards. This version is probably an imitation of the Western dominoes. Traditionally, European dominoes are made of dark hardwood such as ebony and ivory.
The Domino game first came to Europe in the late 18th century. Some say the game was brought to England by French prisoners of war. However, the earliest known records of the dominoes in England date from the mid-18th century.