A domino is a small rectangular piece of rigid material, normally made of wood, ivory or bone. These are used for various games, including solitaire, trick-taking and scoring. They are also used for studying nerve cells.
Dominoes are generally twice as long as they are wide. The ends of the domino are divided into two squares called ends, and the rest of the piece is blank. One side of the piece is marked with a set of pips or spots, and the other is marked with a line in the middle.
There are several variations of dominoes, each with a different character. Most are adaptations of card games. However, they are also used for a variety of fun activities. For example, they can be used to create a fun domino course.
Dominoes are typically played with a pair of players. Each player selects seven dominoes from a pile. After choosing, they then line up the pieces edge-to-edge against each other, making sure to align the pieces with a specific total number of pips on each side. As the set gets larger, it becomes harder to identify the pips.
If a domino has six pips, it is considered to be the highest-value piece. It is a common practice to use Arabic numerals rather than pips on the largest sets. Some large sets include a variety of different combinations, including a combination of Arabic numerals and pips. This makes it harder to tell which pips are the highest-value.
Dominoes can be made of different materials, including plastic and wood. Traditionally, European-style dominoes were made from bone, ebony, and ivory. Although the Chinese also use dominoes, they do not have the same distinctions between the suits of a playing card. To play a traditional Chinese game such as Tien Gow, for example, a player has to choose from a set of 32 tiles that represent each possible face of two thrown dice.
Another variation is the 5s-and-3s game, in which a player scores by dividing a pair of fives or a pair of threes into two different tiles. The player who scores the most points wins.
There are many nicknames for dominoes. Many children prefer to use them as toys. Others call them spinners. People also refer to them as bones and tickets.
Dominoes were first used in Europe in the mid-18th century. Some French prisoners of war brought the game to England. In the 1860s, they appeared in American literature.
Today, they can be found in many countries. The most popular dominoes set is the double-six set, which includes 28 tiles. Other sets are the double-18, which has 190 tiles; the double-12, with 91 tiles; and the double-21, with 253 tiles.
Although there are a number of games and nicknames for dominoes, they are most commonly used for positional games. That is, they are used to set up rows of dominoes. Once a row is established, the next domino in the line is tipped over, and the chain reaction starts.