A domino is a rectangular tile with identifying marks on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. These markings, called pips or spots, are used to determine the value of each domino when placed against other tiles. The number of pips on each end of the domino ranges from six to zero, with doubles having two adjacent pips.
A Domino is a versatile game piece that can be used to play many different games. Most of these games are based on blocking or scoring. Players may also play solitaire or trick-taking games, most of which are adaptations of card games. These types of games were once popular in some parts of the world to circumvent religious proscriptions against the use of cards.
When playing a domino game, each player takes his turn to place a domino edge-to-edge against another domino. When played correctly, the resulting chain forms a “snake-line” of dominoes that touch each other at their matching ends. The shape of the chain depends on a variety of factors, including the whims and strategies of the players and limitations of the playing surface.
The number of tiles taken by each player is determined at the beginning of the game. The player who draws the highest number of dominoes takes the first turn in the game. A player who can no longer make a play passes his turn to the player to his right. Some domino games allow players to “buy” tiles from the stock (see Passing and Byeing below) and others require all purchased dominoes to be left in the stock at the end of the game.
Generally, the player who makes the first play of a domino game sets the first tile for the remainder of the game. This is often done by drawing lots, but can be by other means such as determining the winner of the last game, or by seating arrangements or a clockwise rotation of players. Once the order of play has been established, a player may choose to begin the game by setting the heaviest domino or by passing.
Some dominoes are made of polymer materials and therefore have a uniform appearance. However, dominoes can also be made of natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl) or ivory, or a dark hardwood like ebony. These sets have a more unique appearance and often cost significantly more than polymer dominoes.
While a domino can be used in any game, most of the games featured on this website are positional in nature and involve placing a domino edge-to-edge in such a way that its matching ends match or form some specified total. Some dominoes are shaped so that they can be laid perpendicular to a double, while others can be played with their matched end touching a stray tile at the end of the line of play. These variations are known as “snake-lines” and contribute to the variety of different positionsal domino games.