A domino is a game made of tiles, usually made of ivory or bone. They are marked with pips, or dots. These pips were originally arranged in a certain way, and each domino represented one of the results of throwing two six-sided dice. Some games feature variations, such as scoring, blocking, or layout games.
The original games of dominoes were played in China. One version, called Tien Gow, consisted of a 32-piece set, which represented each possible face of two thrown dice. Other traditional Chinese domino games include Che Deng and Pai Gow.
Dominoes were first introduced to Europe in the early to mid-18th century. During the Napoleonic era, French prisoners of war brought them to Britain. By the 1860s, dominoes appeared in American literature and variants began to appear on the American market.
When playing the Western style of dominoes, players are required to place the pieces in a specific manner. They are usually placed on a rectangular block, which is divided into two squares. Each of the squares is numbered from 0 to 6. Doubles, or “double” tiles, are often laid cross-ways in the layout.
The first player, or drawer, chooses a tile to play. Typically, this is the double-six, or heaviest domino in the game. To play the domino, the player has to lay the tile in such a way that it touches a matching end of a domino chain. If the domino is played with the same number at both ends, it is said to be “stitched up.”
In most domino games, the second player plays the third tile. He is required to match the domino’s open end to a part of the first tile. For example, if the first tile is a 6-6, the second tile is a 6-4.
Alternatively, the second player may play a tile that has a number on one end of the domino. This is done by placing the tile in such a way that its open end is adjacent to the first. It may also be played to the right of a 6-6.
In some versions of dominoes, all four sides of the double are considered to be open. Players can add or subtract tiles to any line, but the total is limited by the number of open ends on the domino.
Before the game, the players must agree on a score. A player is a winner when he has reached this target. Depending on the type of dominoes, a game may also feature a scoring, blocking, or layout component. Most modern domino games are variations of card games.
A player’s domino may fall by flicking it, or it may be pushed forward with increasing force. Once a domino falls, the chain of dominoes begins to move. However, the dominoes must remain stable for the next player to continue the game. If the tower falls, the game is over.
Another variant, called concentration, is played with a double-six set. In this game, the total number of pips is reduced to 12. Rather than having to use a tile that has the number on both ends, the player has to use the shortest possible tile that has 12 pips on both ends.