# The Basics of Dominoes

A domino is a small, flat rectangular block used as a gaming object. It has a line in the middle that divides it visually into two square ends, called pips, which may contain any number of dots, from six to none or blank. The values of the pips are known as the rank and the weight of a domino.

A single domino is not playable by itself; it must be matched with another domino that shares the same number of pips on each end, usually a double. These matching dominos are known as partners. The partners may then use their pairs to lay down the dominoes in accordance with the rules of the game being played. The first player to have all of his or her partner’s dominoes laid down wins the hand, and play passes to the next player.

The most common set of dominoes contains 28 tiles. Larger sets exist, and are commonly referred to as extended sets. These sets have additional tiles that increase the maximum number of pips on an end from three to four, increasing the total number of possible combinations of ends and of pieces.

Most domino games involve laying down dominoes in order to match the numbers or blanks on adjacent ones. In addition to being fun to play, this process helps teach children number recognition and basic math skills. The most basic games are for two players, and are played with a double-six set. In some versions of these games, the stock (the set of 28 tiles) is shuffled and then each player draws seven dominoes from the boneyard to start play.

Each player then plays one of his or her tiles on the table in turn. This tile is called an opening double, and it must be played before any other dominoes are laid down. The partners then compete to have the most complete set of dominoes, and play continues until either a player cannot make a move or reaches a predetermined point at which the game ends.

Some players enjoy creating impressive displays of dominoes. A YouTube artist named Hevesh, for example, has created domino setups that take several nail-biting minutes to fall.

The earliest mention of dominoes in written Chinese appears in the Chu sz yam, a book compiled in 1120 CE. According to this account, the game was invented by a statesman who presented it to the Emperor Hui Tsung.

The popularity of the game has led to many different variants, but most of these require a full set of 28 double-six tiles. The most extensive book containing the rules of these different games is called The Great Book of Domino Games by Jennifer A. Kelley. This is a print and online publication that contains the rules of more than 100 different domino games. Whether you prefer the quick pace of a fast-paced game or the strategic challenge of a more complex game, there’s sure to be a domino game that you’ll love.

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