Originally, the word domino was a hooded garment worn by priests. It is believed that the game of dominoes originated in Italy in the early 18th century. It spread to France in the mid-18th century, where it became a fad. The game is also believed to have spread to Austria and southern Germany.
Traditionally, European-style dominoes are made from dark hardwood such as ebony. Their faces are usually ivory, but they can also be made from mother of pearl oyster shell. The most common type of domino set is a double-six set, which contains 28 tiles.
The basic domino game is played between two players. Each player chooses seven tiles from a stock. Each tile can be placed on a ruler upright or on the edge of a table. In the most basic variant, the players try to win by using their own tiles or by winning against their opponents.
The game can be quite complex. In the most basic form, each domino is divided into two squares. The first tile in each square is marked with a number of spots, which are referred to as pips. The highest-value piece has six spots on each end. When a domino is tipped, the next domino in the line will fall down. This starts a chain reaction that can tip the dominoes over until they all topple over. The game can also be played in a row, with the first domino tipped causing the next one to fall down.
Another type of domino game is called Five-Up, which uses multicolored tiles. The goal is to get the total number of pips of the first domino to match the number of pips of the second domino. The second domino must be three-quarters of the length of the first domino. In order to do this, the second domino must be connected to a ruler with a hinge. In some larger sets, Arabic numerals replace the pips.
Dominoes are also used in other games, such as Tien Gow, Pai Gow, and Che Deng. They are also used in scientific studies, such as nerve cell research. Originally, the domino game represented one of the 21 results of throwing two six-sided dice. They are also used in a variety of other games, including chess and trick-taking.
The word domino first appeared in the Dictionnaire de Trevoux in 1771. It is also found in several early European literature texts. Eventually, the word became synonymous with the game of dominoes.
The game also spread to England in the late 1700s, when French prisoners of war brought them with them to England. In the 1860s, dominoes began appearing in American literature. Traditionally, European dominoes were made of ivory, but they were also made from bone. Some games used Chinese dominoes, which did not require matching. They were also known during the 17th century.
Many different kinds of domino games are played, including solitaire games, trick-taking games, and scoring games. The most common type of domino game is a scoring game.