Domino is a family of tile-based games, which may be played with two or more players. Each domino is a rectangular tile with a number of spots, or “pips,” on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. Like a die, each pips’ arrangement and number corresponds to a specific number in the game.
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When you play a domino game, it’s important to use a hard surface. A wooden or concrete table is ideal. This helps the tiles stand upright, preventing them from falling over when another player plays on top of them. Also, playing on a smooth surface makes it easier to read the dots on each domino.
Normally, each player’s turn consists of placing a domino on the table in such a way that the adjacent edges match (either identically or by forming some specified total). Some types of dominoes have different rules for matching. For example, some doubles count as one or two (depending on the rule set). Some double-blanks are wild, meaning that they can be assigned a value of your choosing.
Dominoes are often made of natural materials, such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood like ebony, with contrasting black or white pips. Other sets are made of novel materials, such as ceramic clay; metals including brass or pewter; and even frosted glass or crystal. These more distinctive sets have a more elegant look and feel, although they are usually much more expensive than those made of polymer.
The history of the domino game began in Italy and France in the early 18th century. It became a popular fad in England towards the end of that same period, and it was later brought to America by French prisoners. The word domino does not appear to have been used before that time, but the name is now universally used.
There are many variants of the game, which can involve strategy and skill in addition to chance. The most common variant involves scoring points by awarding the number of pips on opposing players’ tiles. The player who earns the most points after a specified number of rounds wins the game. In some cases, players play cooperatively to reach a predetermined goal. Other variants are competitive and involve the winner being the first to a specified amount of points.