Often called dominos, these rectangular tiles are used in several different types of games. Each domino is arranged in a row and marked with the number, suit, and arrangement of spots on one side. Some dominos are blank on the other side.
The game of dominos began in Italy in the early 18th century. It later spread to France and England in the mid-18th century. The game was popular in certain regions to avoid religious prohibitions against playing cards. In the 1860s, the domino game was introduced to the United States.
Dominoes are used for a variety of games, from trick taking to scoring games. They can be played with a single player, a team of players, or both. They can be made from wood, plastic, or bone. They are usually about twice as long as they are wide. Most domino sets are made up of 28 tiles. There are also larger sets, such as the double-12 and double-18 sets. In the case of a double-18 set, for example, each of the 190 dominos is a unique tile that represents the possible combinations of two six-sided dice.
A domino’s number and suit determine its value. For instance, a single tile in a double-12 set belongs to a suit of threes, while a single tile in a double-18 set belongs to a suit of nines. Depending on the rules, a single tile may belong to either a suit or a blank.
The most basic version of dominos has six pips. There are other variants, including a concentration variant that uses a double-six set. Another common variant, the Draw Game, involves multicolored tiles. It has more followers in many parts of the world.
The number of pips on a domino can be confusing. There are some large domino sets that use Arabic numerals instead of pips. However, the more tiles in a set, the more difficult it becomes to identify pips. A player who plays a domino with the same number at both ends is said to have “stitched up” the ends. The number of spots on the ends of the domino also determines its value. A piece that has six spots on each end has the highest value.
If a player cannot place a domino, he or she may select a sleeping domino, which will eventually run out. If a player cannot play a domino, the next person in line can knock it down and begin the chain reaction.
Besides being used in a number of games, dominoes can be studied to study neurons and nerve cells. They are typically made of dark hardwood, such as ebony, ivory, or bone. Originally, a domino was a long hooded cloak worn by priests.
There are many variations on the domino game, and most of them are adaptations of traditional card games. Most domino games are based on positional or scoring games, with the most popular being those that involve trick-taking and score-taking. There are a number of traditional Chinese domino games, such as Pai Gow, Che Deng, and Tien Gow.