Domino is a game that involves laying down dominoes in lines or angular patterns. A complete set of dominoes consists of 28 pieces that are marked with arrangements of spots or “pips” on one face and blank or identically patterned on the other, or that have no markings at all (a set of unmarked dominoes is sometimes called a “bluff”).
The earliest known domino game was played in Egypt and dates to the late twelfth century BCE. Like most early games, it was a form of chance that involved throwing dice or a similar mechanism to determine the winner.
Throughout history, domino has been used in a variety of social and cultural settings. In addition to being enjoyed by children and adults for its entertainment value, it has been a way of developing math skills and of expressing artistic creativity.
In modern times, domino has become a popular pastime for many people in the United States and around the world. The game is easy to learn and can be played in groups or on a one-on-one basis. The rules for each game vary slightly, but most are based on the same basic principles.
For example, the first domino to be placed must have a matching end. The next tile must be placed perpendicular to the domino being played, unless it is a double. If the tile being played is a double, it must be played squarely with the two matching sides touching completely. This development of a domino chain, or snake line, is part of the fun and provides one of the reasons that domino can be so addictive.
Most domino games are played in teams of two or more players. The first player to play a tile begins the round. This player may be referred to as the setter, the downer, or the leader, depending on the game being played. If a player cannot play a tile, he or she must draw a new hand of tiles, if allowed by the rules of the game being played, and pass his turn to the next player in the game. If a game reaches a point where no player can continue to play, the winners are those who have the combined highest number of points in their remaining dominoes.
Many domino enthusiasts also enjoy creating elaborate domino art, which can take the form of straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures when the dominoes fall, stacked walls, or 3-D structures such as towers and pyramids. To create a piece of domino art, a person must first carefully plan out the layout. For example, a person creating a straight or curved line must mark on paper the lines and arrows that indicate which domino should be the starting point and which should be the endpoint. Then, the player must figure out how many dominoes he or she will need to create the desired layout. Once the dominoes are laid out, they must be positioned so that they are ready to be struck with one quick flick of the finger.