The Basics of Dominoes
The domino is a small rectangular block used in a variety of games. Traditionally made of bone or ivory, European-style dominoes are also available in dark hardwoods. Although many types of dominoes exist, the most common include double-nine sets with 55 tiles and double-six sets with 28 tiles.
They are used for games such as Pai Gow, Che Deng, Tien Gow and even solitaire games. Generally speaking, dominoes are divided into two squares, called ends, which are separated by a line down the middle. In addition to identifying the two end squares, each domino is marked with two groups of pips (or spots) on one side.
The domino game began to be popular in France in the mid-18th century. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was also gaining popularity in England. However, it wasn’t until the 1860s that dominos began to appear in American literature. This fad was spread to Austria and southern Germany as well.
Initially, dominoes were used in religious settings to avoid the proscription against playing cards. Today, they are also popular with children as toys. But the origin of the domino remains a mystery. It may have been a Chinese game or an adaptation of card games.
Dominoes are similar to playing cards, except they are marked with a line down the center. These pieces can be set up in long rows and knocked down, or they can be stacked on the end in long lines. Regardless of how the game is played, the goal is to clear a hand while blocking an opponent. There are many different types of domino games, including trick-taking games and scoring games.
The traditional Chinese domino set consists of 32 pieces. Each piece is arranged to represent every possible face of a pair of dice. Some larger domino sets use Arabic numerals instead of pips. Other versions, such as the Concentration variant, require a total pip count of twelve.
Traditionally, the Chinese dominoes were used for trick-taking games. Players can knock down one domino, which can then knock down hundreds of others. To win the game, you must match the numbers on your dominos to the number on your opponent’s. One of the most popular versions, Hector’s Rules, awards a bonus play if an opponent plays a double tile.
Unlike the Chinese, European-style dominoes are not arranged by suit. Instead, each piece is unique for the possible combinations of two ends with zero to six spots. No blank or duplicate faces are used.
The first known reference to the word “domino” appears in the Dictionnaire de Trevoux in 1771. The name was subsequently used to refer to crude woodcuts on paper, popular among French peasants.
During the 18th century, the domino game spread to Italy, France, and England. The French prisoners of war brought the game to England in the late 1700s. From there, it was popular in France and Austria, and then it spread to Germany, Spain, and South America.