Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks with a surface marked by dots that resemble those on dice. They are often played as a game, where players place them in rows or columns and then knock them over by touching one with another. The first domino to fall is the start of a chain that builds up in length as more and more are added. Dominoes are usually made of clay, wood, bone or other materials, and are available in a range of colors and shapes. Some are even painted in intricate patterns.
The most popular domino game is called double-six. In this game, a domino has two sides, each of which can be ascribed a value from six pips down to blank. The values of the exposed ends are multiplied to determine a player’s score. The first player to reach a specified number of points wins the game.
Dominos can also be used to make 3-D structures, and are sometimes arranged into patterns or in lines that create a specific design. In a typical domino pattern, the largest 3-D sections go up first, followed by flat arrangements. Then, lines of dominoes are added to connect the sections together and complete the design.
A number of different games can be played using dominoes, and the game’s popularity has spread worldwide. It is often played by children and adults of all ages, and it can be enjoyed in social gatherings or during a quiet family time.
Many people collect dominoes or use them to teach math and counting skills. They are also often used to decorate home and office spaces. In some cases, people may even use them to build artistic pieces or sculptures. For example, a Domino’s Pizza in Detroit was constructed from dominoes, and the company collaborated with crowd-sourced auto designers to create a pizza delivery car.
In addition to the standard 28-piece set, many types of domino sets are available, including ones with varying numbers of pips and colors on the ends of the tiles. Some of these larger sets are called “extended” because they allow more than one person to play. The most common extended sets are double-nine and double-twelve, which contain 55 and 91 tiles respectively.
Historically, dominoes were made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl) or ivory with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted on them. More recently, they have been made from a variety of natural materials, such as stone (e.g., marble or soapstone); other types of wood (e.g., ash, oak, redwood and cedar); metals (e.g., brass or pewter); ceramic clay; and other materials. These types of sets tend to be much more expensive than polymer ones.
The word “domino” is derived from the Latin verb dominium, meaning to control or dominate. An earlier sense of the word, however, denoted a hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade.