The Basics of Dominoes
Dominoes are small, flat, rectangular blocks used in games. They are usually made from wood or bone, but some modern sets have plastic pieces. They are also known by several other names, including bones, cards, men, stones, and spinners.
The history of dominoes is a little murky, but they were likely first introduced in Europe, possibly by French prisoners, during the 18th century. The game was then brought to England, where it spread quickly.
In the early 19th century, a variant of the game appeared in America. It was called block and draw, a game of two to four players where each player takes a certain number of dominoes and then draws from a stock of dominoes that are lying face down on the table. The winner is the player who has the lowest total pips.
A lot of different kinds of dominoes exist, each with a particular set of rules and characteristics. In general, the pieces are twice as long as they are wide and feature a line in the middle to divide them visually into two squares, called ends. Each end has a value, which can range from six pips to none or blank.
Many European sets have contrasting black or white pips (called spots or pips). Some are carved from silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell, ivory or bone, and some from dark hardwoods like ebony.
Some dominoes are engraved, with designs in the pips or edges of the pieces. The most common motifs are flowers, hearts, stars, animals and other geometric patterns.
The pieces are grouped into suits, which are numbered from 1 through seven. Each suit contains a different group of dominoes that correspond to the number of pips in a specific domino.
Most domino sets have 28 pieces, which are commonly referred to as “dominos.” The most common commercially available sets are double-six (28 tiles), double-nine (55 tiles) and double-12 (91 tiles). A variety of larger sets also exist, but are rare.
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