A domino is a small, rectangular block, shaped like a truncated pyramid with a back and a front. The back is blank, whereas the front has a line in the middle. It is made of wood, bone, ivory, or dark hardwood.
Traditionally, dominoes are made of dark hardwood, ivory, and ebony. However, there are many variations of dominoes, including those that are used in the game of pai gow. Some of these variations use a double-nine set and others use a double-twelve set.
Western dominoes first appeared in France and Italy in the mid-18th century. Later, they were brought to England by French prisoners of war. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, dominoes appeared in American literature and in variant games.
One version of dominoes involves laying out tiles in a picture pattern. In most cases, the tiles are laid on their halves. They have a back and a front, and the number of pips on each half of the face is what determines the name of an individual domino.
Some versions of dominoes require players to chip out the piece, while other variations do not. Several different scoring and blocking games can be played with dominoes. Typically, players award the pips on the corresponding side of the opponent’s tiles. Another variant is a concentration game, which requires the player to total up the number of pips on all of the tile sets.
Other variations of dominoes are trick taking, layout games, and scoring games. Most games are variations on traditional card games. There are also special rules, such as determining the winning score by awarding the least spots on the opposing player’s tiles. These variations have a variety of different names, from dominoes to bones.
For example, a double-six domino is a pair of six pips, with the sixth pips on one side and the fifth pips on the other side. Similarly, a double-ten domino is a pair of ten pips, with the eighth pips on one side and the eleventh pips on the other.
Other common types of dominoes are single and combination dominoes. Single dominoes are played in positional games, while combination dominoes are pushed forward with an increasing force. When a double is placed, the double must be placed in such a way as to be perpendicular to the double touching the middle of the table. Adding tiles to the chain is possible, although these are typically only placed on the long side of the double.
Traditionally, European-style dominoes are made of bone, ivory, and dark hardwood. Today, dominoes can be purchased in almost any color combination. The back of a domino is usually decorated, and some have identifying marks.
Many modern versions of dominoes have blank ends. This is to protect the face from scratches when the domino is shuffled. Depending on the rules of the particular domino game, some versions of dominoes will not be allowed to have open ends.
Western dominoes are typically used for positional games. While some of these dominoes are blank, the majority are marked with a number of pips, which can be painted or drilled.