Domino is a small rectangular block, often in black and white, that’s used for gaming. It’s also known as a bone, piece, man, or tile and is sometimes even referred to as “dominoes.”
A domino can be used for a variety of games and can be arranged in several ways. Depending on the game, it’s possible to line up dominoes in straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, or even 3D structures like towers and pyramids.
While many people may have played domino as children, it’s actually a very complex game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. The rules of domino vary, but the basic idea is that each player has a set of tiles with numbers on them and tries to build a row before the opposing players do. The first one to complete their row wins the game.
The most common domino sets have 28 tiles, which is enough for four players to take turns playing. In addition to these standard sets, there are extended sets with more tiles. Each additional set increases the maximum number of spots on an end by three. The most popular extended sets are double-nine (55 tiles), double-12, and double-18.
As the game progresses, each player lays a domino on the table that matches one of the dots on an existing tile. The next player then plays a domino that can match the new spot on the existing tile. If a player can’t play a matching domino, they must “knock,” which means that the opponent can then proceed with their turn.
Throughout the process, the dominoes are placed on-edge so that each player can see their own tiles and the value of any doubles they have in their hand. The first player to play their tiles, usually determined by drawing lots or the heaviest hands, will place their tile on the table. After that, the other players will play their tiles, with the winner being the player whose tiles, if any, are stacked in a connected line of pips. Normally, the winning tile is a double-six.
In the English language, the word domino originally denoted a long hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade. This sense of the word may have helped inspire the design of domino pieces, which are often ebony blacks that contrast with ivory whites. The current domino piece, however, is a little less dramatic.