Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks of wood or plastic used to play games. A domino has one side that identifies it and the other side is blank or bears an arrangement of spots, like those on dice, that correspond to numbers from one to six; 28 such tiles constitute a full set. A domino may be described as a game piece, a gaming object, or as the basis for various types of games, some of which are variants of card games, while others are entirely different in character and origin. Dominoes were once popular in some parts of the world to circumvent religious prohibitions against playing cards.
There are many ways to play a game of domino; the most popular way is in partnerships. The players sit opposite each other and the person with the most dominoes is the partner, or leader. The partner whose turn it is to play begins the game by drawing a domino from the stock. This tile is called a “dot” or “pip.” The player holding the dot with the highest number seats himself to the left of the leader and then plays a domino of his choice, starting with the one closest to him. When the player has finished his turn, the next partner takes his seat. In a partnership game, the players take turns playing dominoes until one partner is out of tiles, or chips out, and play passes to the other player.
As each domino is played, a line of matching pieces is developed in a configuration that may be known as the layout or string. When the player matches a new domino to an existing domino in the chain, it is joined to that domino’s open end. The position of this new end is dependent on the type of domino: doubles, for example, are always played cross-ways across the line of play; singles, on the other hand, are played lengthwise to the existing domino.
When a domino is played, the word domino, or the Latin domino, is often pronounced in a long, drawn-out sound. This pronunciation is particularly common in the United States, where the game originated.
The word domino can also be applied to other objects, such as a large brick or a chessboard. The word domino is also commonly used as a verb: to dominate means to arrange a domino in a specific way, such as by placing it on its edge against another in order to form a line of matches or a specific total.
Lily Hevesh began playing with dominoes as a child, and she quickly developed a passion for creating intricate domino setups. She now works as a professional domino artist and has millions of YouTube viewers fascinated by her amazing work. Hevesh shares her tips for building stunning domino setups in this article.