The Basics of Dominoes

Dominoes are rectangular plastic or clay tiles bearing a number of spots or “pips” on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. They are normally twice as long as they are wide, making them easier to stack and re-stack when not in use. The value of each domino is determined by the number of pips on its two ends.

Each domino has a number of different ways that it can be used. The most common is to form a line of play, which is a series of adjacent dominoes that must be knocked over before another player takes his turn. The line of play may also be curved or formed into grids that produce pictures when they fall, or it might be stacked to form walls and 3D structures like towers and pyramids.

In a game of domino, each player must follow the rules for taking turns and laying down tiles. Some games have a set number of points that must be made in order to win, and the points are calculated from the number of matching ends on the lines of play. Other rules are more flexible, and the players can decide how to count their scores.

Many people use dominoes to create artwork. For example, artist Hevesh uses them to make complex and beautiful displays. She starts each project by considering its theme, and then she brainstorms ideas for how to arrange the dominoes. Her creations can be as simple or elaborate as she wants – her largest designs take several nail-biting minutes to fall.

When playing a game of domino, it’s important to keep track of the number of dominoes that are left in the stock. This is important because some games allow for the purchase of additional tiles, and some have rules that dictate when a tile must be bought or reclaimed. Some of these rules require that all of the matching ends are visible on a particular end of the domino, while others may only require that a specific number of pips be on one side.

Dominoes are commonly referred to as bones, cards, men or pieces, but the name for the game itself comes from its French roots. The word “domino” originally denoted a long, hooded cloak that was worn together with a mask at carnival season or during a masquerade. The hooded cloak was black and contrasted with the white surplice of a priest, which may have inspired the name for the game of domino.

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