Dominos are small rectangular blocks made of either wood, plastic, or bone that are commonly used for games. They are usually marked with an arrangement of pips and a line in the middle of the block.
Dominoes are typically played by two or four players. Each player picks a domino and places it edge-to-edge against the others. The player with the fewest pips wins the game. There are several variations of the game, including solitaire and trick-taking.
Dominos are traditionally made of dark hardwood such as ebony or ivory. However, there are also dominos made of silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell. In some versions, pips are replaced with Arabic numerals. These tiles are often called “dotted cards” or “dotted dominoes” and are traditionally used for trick-taking games.
Dominoes were first introduced to England in the late 1700s. They were originally brought to Europe by French prisoners of war. Later, they were introduced to Italy, France, and Germany.
While the exact origin of the domino is unclear, the word originally referred to a long, hooded cloak or cape worn by priests. It was later changed to a name for a masquerade mask. Originally, the pieces were shaped like the cape and made of ebony blacks.
Dominoes are commonly used in games of trick-taking and scoring. In the most common form of the game, each player draws seven dominoes, and then the next player must choose seven to match the number of pips in the lead domino.
The most basic Western domino game is block and draw, which is played for two to four players. This type of domino game requires the players to place each domino in the pile, then select a lead piece and then move the rest of the dominoes in order to try to get the highest total pip count.
Other variations of the game include Concentration, where each player uses a double-six set to try to get the highest total pip total. Players can also use larger sets, which are more commonly found in games with multiple players. For instance, a double-12 set has 91 tiles, while a double-18 set has 190 tiles.
The game is also very complex. One of the biggest challenges is identifying the pips. Although the pips are marked on the side of the dominoes, they are not always visible. As the set becomes larger, it becomes harder to tell which pips are which. Also, some of the dominoes may be blank.
The game is very popular. Some children prefer to play it as a toy rather than a game. In some areas, playing dominoes was a way to avoid religious proscriptions on using playing cards.
Besides being used for various games, dominoes are also used for study. Dominoes can be used to study nerve cells because they contain an electrochemical pulse that moves in only one direction.
There are several nicknames for dominoes, including cards, bones, and tickets. The word can also refer to a game where players flick the dominoes across a table to knock them down.