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The Basics of Domino

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Domino is a game that involves the use of a set of tiles, each with one or more dots. The tiles are normally twice as long as they are wide and can be placed on a flat surface in a variety of ways. The tiles are grouped into sets and each player takes turns placing them on the table in order to create a chain of dominoes that gradually increases in length. Each domino has one end with a number of spots, called pips, and the other end is open. A domino with more pips has a higher value and is considered “heavier” than a lighter tile that has fewer pips.

There are many different types of domino games. Some are played by two or more players, while others may be played by just one person. The rules of the game determine who will make the first play. The person making the first play is often referred to as the setter, the downer, or the leader. Depending on the rules of the game, there are several ways to decide who will begin play, including drawing lots or beginning with the winner of the last game played.

When a domino is placed on the table it must be positioned so that its matching ends touch fully. A single tile is usually placed horizontally, but a double must be placed vertically or diagonally so that the middle of the tile is touching the adjacent domino. The shape of the resulting chain may be square, circular, serpentine, or cross-ways.

While the chain of dominoes is the main draw of this popular game, its mechanics are also intriguing. A physicist at the University of Toronto explains that each domino standing upright has potential energy, which is based on its position. When the domino is knocked over, much of this energy is converted into kinetic energy, which causes other dominoes to topple in a chain reaction.

After the pips have been arranged, each player draws the number of tiles that he is permitted to take according to the rules of the particular game being played. These tiles are then added to the ones he already has in his hand and he plays a domino. Some games allow a player to buy additional tiles from the stock at any time, but this will typically have a negative impact on a player’s score.

In some games, the heaviest tile may be bought from the stock to make the first play. This is a way to ensure that a player can begin the game without waiting for a new hand to be dealt. In other games, the player with the highest double in his hand makes the first play. If there is a tie for the highest double, the tie can be broken by drawing new hands. Some games require that each player begins with the same number of dominoes, but this is optional. Other games have rules for determining the order in which each player will begin to play his dominoes.

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