Domino is a set of small, rectangular game pieces. These blocks can be made of a variety of materials, including bone, ivory and mother of pearl. They are traditionally made of dark hardwood such as ebony. They have markings on one side that indicate the order in which they are placed.
The game of domino originated in Italy and France in the early 18th century. It was later introduced to England in the late 1700s. Although the origin of domino is unclear, the name “domino” is likely derived from the Latin word dominus, meaning a mask or hood. Originally the term referred to a black and white hood worn by Christian priests during winter.
A domino is composed of six to eight tiles, each of which consists of two identical sides, or “pips.” Pips on the left and right sides of each tile have a different value. One of the most common variants has no pips and the number of spots on each side represents the value.
Each player is given a hand of tiles, usually three or four. He or she must place these tiles on a table to form a tower, a structure whose stability is the goal of the game. If the tower is unstable, the next player must chip out one of the tiles, creating a new tower. When the tower falls, the winner is the partner with the lowest spot count.
Dominoes have been manufactured in many countries around the world. Some types of dominos are blank on the right side, while others are marked with identifying marks. This makes it easier to determine which tiles are played by the other players.
In most domino games, players use a single hand. Before the game begins, each player chooses a tile, which he or she may only play if the number of spots on the tile is lower than the number of spots on the opponent’s. Another variation of the game is called concentration, which requires the player to draw out a set of twelve tiles.
For the first two tiles, the player must draw a domino and place it so the end of the domino on the right is near the end of the domino on the left. The player then plays another tile. His or her second tile must be a vertical tile with a number that is higher than the tile already in play.
Alternatively, the player can play two or more tiles at once. If he or she catches a double, the player must play a tile that is perpendicular to the double. Normally, doubles are placed cross-ways across the end of the chain. Other versions of the game consider all four sides of the double open, so that the player can put in as many tiles as he or she wishes.
Unlike card games, domino games require a greater level of accuracy. They can be used to improve a player’s math skills. Most games score by awarding the opponent a “pip” for each of the tiles in his or her opponent’s hand.