A domino is a piece of playing card, usually about twice as long as wide. It is marked with a line in the middle and a set of pips on one side. The pips are used for matching purposes. Originally, each domino represented one of the 21 possible results from throwing two six-sided dice.
Throughout history, dominoes have been played in a variety of different games. Various types of dominoes are used, but the most common are the double-nine and double-six sets. These domino sets have 55 and 91 tiles, respectively. They are traditionally made of dark hardwood such as ebony or ivory. There are also European-style sets that are made of a mother of pearl oyster shell.
To play a domino, players must place the tile on the table. In most games, a domino is placed perpendicular to a line. The number of pips at the end of the line is then counted to see if the player has scored. If it has, the player is the winner.
Depending on the domino set, the player can add tiles to the line. This can help create a “L” in the layout. Another strategy is to add to the same end of the chain. Depending on the player’s preference, tiles can be placed in any direction.
In a skillful game of dominoes, players are required to form a specific total by laying out their tiles. Normally, a single tile is of the suit of two, but it can also be of the suits of three and zero. One tile from each suit is used for each player. Each player is paired with another, and the pair that has the least number of spots on their dominoes wins.
The earliest known mention of a domino is from the Song dynasty in China. The name came from crude woodcuts on paper that were popular among the peasants in that region. However, it wasn’t until the mid-18th century that dominoes began to be introduced to Western culture. By the end of that decade, dominoes were being played in France, Italy, Austria and Germany.
Today, most domino games are adaptations of various card games. Some of these games are trick-taking games, while others are positional games. Whether the domino game is played in pairs or teams, the goal is to form a precarious tower that will fall to the next player. Players must agree on a target score before the game begins.
To win a trick-taking domino game, a player must have a domino with at least five pips on one end. After a player plays a tile, the other players must try to match it to an identical one. Once the player has successfully matched a tile, he or she can then knock, draw, or rap the tile to the table.
In a skillful game, the second tile is played to the right of the first, with the same number. If the second tile has the same number as the first, the player has “stitched up” the ends.