The Basics of Domino


Domino, also known as dominoes, is a game with simple rules that can be played in many different ways. A set of dominoes consists of 28 rectangular blocks of wood or plastic, each displaying from one to six pips (or dots) on their face. The game is played by matching and playing tiles in a line or angular configuration. The line of play is sometimes called the layout, string, or chain, and is a central feature of many games. In many cases, the open end of a played tile must touch another domino in the line of play; this allows for a chain to develop as players place tiles along it.

The first player to complete a line of dominoes is the winner. A common scoring method is to count the number of pips left in the losing player’s hand at the end of a hand or a game, and add this amount to the winner’s total score. In other games, the number of pips at the end of the line of play, or the number on a double, is added to the winning player’s score.

A domino is a small tile that is used in a game of chance, skill, and strategy. These tiles are generally made from a material that is durable and attractive, such as bone or ivory; woods including oak, walnut, ash, and ebony; and metals like brass or pewter. They are often painted or inlaid with contrasting black or white pips. While these are the most popular materials for domino sets, they are not the only ones used to create these elegant little squares.

When a domino is played, it causes a reaction in other dominoes, much like the firing of a neuron in the brain. This reaction is a chain reaction, and each new domino that hits the floor must be placed to match or fit with its neighbor, like a row of bricks in a building.

Traditionally, dominoes were played in a very structured way, with rules dictating who could make the first play, when to draw the hands, and how to proceed. In more recent times, however, some players have chosen to make their own rules, often resulting in very different games.

The order in which the players draw their hands is determined by lot, as explained above in “Order of Play.” After the hands have been drawn, they are shuffled and returned to the stock; this is done again in subsequent games when the hands are changed. The player who draws the highest number of pips chooses his seat at the table. A tie may be broken by a drawing of additional dominoes from the stock.

The word domino itself derives from the Italian verb domino meaning “fly.” This is because early dominoes were shaped almost like flying saucers, with wings on each side. Other shapes have included a circle, a triangle, and a cross. The word has also been used to refer to a large hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade.