The Many Uses of Domino

Domino (also known as dominoes, domino cards, men, or pieces) are a type of gaming device that is used to play games of chance and skill. These pieces, typically twice as long as they are wide, have a rectangular shape and feature a line across the middle to divide them visually into two squares with identifying marks on one side, called pips, and a blank or identically patterned other side. Most commonly, a set of dominoes features 28 tiles in a double-six configuration, although larger sets exist. There are many different ways that a set of dominoes can be used to play games, including blocking and scoring games. Some of these games duplicate card games, while others use numbers to determine the winner.

Like playing cards or dice, dominoes are a generic gaming tool that can be used in a variety of ways to entertain and challenge players of all ages. While the rules of basic games such as Draw and Block are relatively simple, a great number of additional rules and game variations have been developed over the years. The word “domino” is believed to have been derived from the Italian word for “flip” and may be a reference to the way that these ancient tiles are flipped over when they are played.

Most domino games are designed for two or more players, but a few can be enjoyed by just one player. The most common form of domino play is the layout game, in which each player adds a domino from their hand to a predetermined arrangement or layout on the table. This arrangement can be in a grid pattern or in other formations, such as a cross. Generally, each tile must be placed adjacent to another domino of the same number. The first player to place a pair wins the game.

Block games are popular in the United States, where players begin with seven dominoes and take turns until one player can’t continue. This player passes and the other players continue taking turns until they are unable to place any more dominoes. The dominoes that remain are called the boneyard or stock. Eventually, the player who can’t play will pass and the first player to reach 100 points wins.

A variation on the Block game is the Draw game, in which each player takes less than seven dominoes at the start. The remaining dominoes are arranged in a row and players choose from the boneyard each time they can’t place a domino. Those chosen are then added to the existing row until a player has no more dominoes they can play. Then the player draws a single domino from the rest of the set and places it in the appropriate position in the layout. In the case of a doublet, the domino must be placed next to all four of its matching neighbors. This is the only difference between this variant and the Block game.