What Is a Domino?


Originally known as the “cape” of a priest, the domino is a cousin of the playing cards. This cousin is made of ivory or dark hardwood such as ebony. The pieces of this cousin are typically divided into two squares by a line. The dominos are marked with pips, spots or markings to indicate which combination of numbers would be rolled when two dice are thrown.

A standard double-6 domino set contains 28 tiles. These tiles are arranged so that each number appears eight times. Each of the eight numbers is arranged in a different order. Generally, this is the simplest type of domino set. However, there are other variations of the domino set. The standard double-6 set includes seven doubles and twenty-one singles.

Each tile has a specific number on each side. These numbers are either numbered or blank. These blank ends allow for 28 unique pieces. Each tile is typically one inch wide. This allows for a range of different games.

The game of dominoes originated in China in the 12th or 13th century. By the mid-18th century, the game had spread to France and Italy. However, the domino game did not spread to England until the mid-18th century. In that time, French prisoners of war brought the domino game to England and France. These prisoners were able to craft the dominos out of cattle bone and sheep bone. These craftsmen used thin animal bones that had been affixed to a thin piece of ebony.

These pieces of the domino were originally made with ivory on one side and dark ebony on the other. The dark markings on the white side reminded people of the masks used by masquerade ball dancers. The first dominoes to be made were those that had white faces on one side and black faces on the other.

A typical domino game is played in pairs, and each player has a hand of dominoes. The player with the heaviest hand, known as the lead player, determines the number of dominoes the other players can draw. Normally, each player draws seven dominoes. The game continues until one player reaches the target score. The player who reaches the target score wins the game. The target score is typically 61 points, but it may be higher or lower. Depending on the size of the set, the number of players and the type of game, the number of tiles drawn may vary.

In some games, the open ends are only used for play. For instance, in a “Chicken Foot” game, a player can place a tile against an open end and the tile will count as a “double”. Other games consider all four sides of the double to be open. A tile with a “double” on one end is counted as a one, while a tile with a “double” on the other end is counted as a two. The simplest basic domino game is the block game for two players.