The domino is a small, rectangular, black-and-white block that is used in many games, from card games to poker to bingo. They are marked with a series of spots, usually arranged in sets of six. These spots make up a domino’s suit. For example, a single tile is in a suit of threes, while a set of six would be in a suit of zero. Other tiles may have blank faces.
The most basic domino game is played between two players. Each player chooses seven pieces from the stock. After arranging them on a table, the first player plays the domino. This leads to a chain reaction where the next domino in line is tipped over and so on. Depending on the type of domino, the rules for the line of play vary.
The most common domino set has 28 tiles, with a single tile being a member of a pair of suits. The doubles can be played on all four sides. Doubles can be used to branch a line of play and create a new line. In some larger sets, Arabic numerals instead of pips are used.
When playing the domino, the player tries to match the number of pips on the leading domino to the number of pips on the second one. If the number of pips on the lead domino matches the number of pips on the second domino, the player wins. Sometimes, the lead piece is a double, which means that the line of play is branched.
A common domino set has a number of different models and designs. Some are made from rigid materials such as wood or plastic, while others are carved from ivory or bone. Traditional European dominos are typically made from a dark hardwood such as ebony. Alternatively, some smaller sets are made from a softer material, such as mother of pearl oyster shell.
The name “domino” comes from the French word for masquerade mask. It was first recorded in the Dictionnaire de Trevoux in 1771. Originally, the word meant a long, hooded cloak worn by priests. However, by the late 18th century, it was being used to refer to a type of cape.
While the Western domino was first introduced in Italy during the mid-18th century, Chinese dominos were known by the early 17th century. The traditional Chinese domino is a 32-piece set that represents each face of two thrown dice. Although some European dominos are shaped like the Chinese domino, they don’t have any specific Chinese suit distinctions.
The Western domino was brought to England in the mid-18th century by French prisoners of war. It soon spread to France, Austria, and Germany. By the 1860s, it had also made its way to the United States. Many variations of the game appeared in American literature.
There are many different types of domino games, including scoring games, trick-taking games, and layout games. Most games involve adaptations of card games. Some people prefer to play the game as a toy rather than as a serious game.