Domino, pronounced DO-NA-NO, is a term used for a small block or rectangular tile. It’s commonly used in various games and is made of a rigid material, such as wood or bone. In most cases, it’s divided into two squares and is marked with pips. The number of pips on each square depends on the type of domino. Some are blank, while others are marked with a series of dots.
A domino is typically twice as long as wide. The number of spots on each side of the domino determines its value. For example, the most valuable piece has six pips on each end. Another example is a single tile, which is in one of the suits. These tiles are placed in front of the players, with their faces arranged to form a pattern. If the player is able to knock down a domino in the middle of a row, the row will be cleared. This process is called toppling.
Traditionally, dominos were made from ivory or dark hardwood, such as ebony. They were popular with French peasants. However, some prisoners of war brought them to England, where they were first introduced around 1750.
After a few years, dominoes began to spread across the world. Originally, they were used to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards. Various versions of the game were developed, including trick-taking and scoring games.
A common version of the domino game involves the players drawing the lead piece. They then place the pieces edge to edge against each other. As the lead piece falls down, it causes the other dominoes to tip over. Depending on the number of pips on the lead piece, the player will win or lose the game. Afterwards, the other players will draw a new lead piece and repeat the process.
Several variations of the domino game exist, with the most basic being a two-player version. Other types of dominoes include those that use Arabic numerals instead of pips. Players also use a larger set, such as a double-18, which includes 190 tiles. There are even games that use multiple colored tiles to create an elaborate pattern.
In the mid-18th century, the domino game was introduced in Italy and France. It was then ported to Austria and Germany. By the end of the nineteenth century, it was spreading to the United States, where it appeared in American literature.
In Europe, dominoes are referred to as a “set” or a “pack”. Like dice, the dominoes have an arrangement of pips on each side. Most of the time, the pips are on the left or right, with the empty space on the other side marked with a line.
Traditional European domino sets contain all the combinations of spots between zero and six. The most common set, a double-six set, contains 28 tiles. One of the advantages of a double-six set is that each of the tiles is unique, rather than duplicates. Unlike Chinese domino sets, European dominoes have no suit distinctions.