Domino is a family of tile-based games played with gaming pieces, similar to playing cards. The game can be played with any number of players. The pieces are rectangular and have a line dividing their faces into two square ends, marked with a number of spots or pips or blank. In a traditional domino set, the number of spots or pips varies from zero to six.
In the early 18th century, the game of domino sprang up in Italy, Austria, southern Germany and France. It was a fad at that time and the word domino does not appear before that period, being first recorded in 1771.
There are many variations of the game and each version can be quite different, although a domino set typically consists of 28 tiles (called bones, cards, men, pieces or tiles). The fronts of the pieces bear identifying marks such as numbers or dots; the backs are indistinguishable, either blank or with some common design.
The tiles are arranged in suits, each representing a number of spots or pips: the suit of fives includes the numbers 0 and 1, the suit of threes has the numbers 2 and 3 and so on; the suit of blanks is the numbers 6 and 0; and the suit of nines has the numbers 9 and 0. Every tile that features a number of spots or pips is a member of a particular suit, but some are members of both.
Each domino is twice as long as it is wide, which makes them easier to stack. The backs of the pieces are indistinguishable, except for a line separating the square ends and a ridge along the bottom edge to indicate the end.
When you play a domino game, each player takes turns placing one of their own tiles down on the board to try to form a row or column. The first player to place a domino that matches a tile on the board wins that round.
There are several different types of dominoes, and some have special properties that make them more interesting than others. For example, some have a high center of gravity, which allows them to be more stable on the board than others; or they can be used to make more complex patterns in games that require players to move around the board.
These special qualities can help dominoes to be more accurate, which is important in the game of domino. However, they can also make it difficult to assemble a single domino without the assistance of a partner.
The game is played by arranging the tiles in a row or column, with the lowest value piece at the head of the chain and the highest value at the tail. The highest-value piece is called the double-six, because it has six pips on each of its two ends.
Often, dominoes are used to form patterns in games that require players to move around or rotate the board. They are especially useful in layout games, where a single tile may be used to cover a large area on the board.