Domino is a game in which players lay dominoes end to end on a table. Each tile has a number on one end and is blank or identically patterned on the other. The numbers on each side are called pips and the sum of all pips makes up the value of the tile. In some games the pips are used to form a chain of tiles; if a player can complete a domino line, or “brick wall,” before his opponents he wins.
A domino can be used in a wide variety of games, most of which fall into two main categories, blocking and scoring. Blocking games involve forming lines of dominoes that are blocked from being completed by the opponent, while scoring games award points for each set of matching pips played on opposing player’s tiles. Dominoes can be arranged in many different ways, including straight lines, curves, grids that form pictures when they fall, or 3D structures like towers and pyramids.
The earliest recorded use of domino was in Italy and France, and the game spread to England by the late 1700s, purportedly brought in by French prisoners of war. Today, domino is played all over the world.
In most Western domino sets, there are 28 tiles. However, larger sets exist. These larger domino sets are often used for games with more than two players, or for playing longer chains of dominoes. The larger sets contain more digits on each end of the tile, which increases the number of possible combinations. These broader combinations are referred to as “extended” sets.
Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide, and the pips are arranged in a pattern that divides each domino visually into squares with an arrangement of spots, or pips, similar to those on a die, except that some squares are blank (indicated in the listing below by a zero). Each side of a domino has a specific value, which is indicated by its number of pips. The most common type of domino is a double-six set, which contains 28 tiles. Other standard sets include double-twelve and double-nine.
Most domino games are won by the first player to reach a target score, or by the first player to “chip out.” A chip out occurs when a player plays all of his or her remaining dominoes. Generally, when a player chips out, play stops, and the winner is the player with the fewest total points. However, some games require that both players chip out before the game is over. In a tie, the players split the winnings.