Domino is a game played with small rectangular wood or plastic blocks, each bearing an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. There are a wide variety of domino games, each requiring different skill levels. Some of the most popular are bidding games, blocking games, and scoring games. Some of the games have a very simple structure while others are very complex, and the rules vary considerably from one game to the next. A player who wins a hand or game of domino receives points, which are recorded on a score sheet. Some games of domino require more than one player.
A person who is considered a master of domino is called a dominator. A dominator enjoys playing the game and is careful to think two moves ahead. A dominator also understands the basic laws of physics. When a domino is knocked over, gravity causes it to fall into the next domino and cause a chain reaction that results in many more dominoes falling.
Many of the rules of domino depend on the order in which tiles are played. The first tile played is known as the set, down, or lead. When the set, down, or lead is a double, it is placed in a “snake-line” formation, that is, perpendicular to the previous domino with the matching ends touching. After the set, down, or lead is played, the following players may draw new hands, and the winner of the last game begins play.
Before the first play, each player draws the number of tiles specified in the rules of the domino game being played and places them in front of him. Each player then selects a domino to be played, choosing it by matching the pips on its open end. If a tile is played out of turn, it must be remembered and may be used later in the play; otherwise, the offending player must take back his tile.
After all players have drawn their hands, there are a number of tiles left in the stock that may be bought (see Passing and Byeing below). The player who draws the most dominoes from the stock, or the total value of his hand, is the winner of the game.
The word domino comes from the Latin dominus, meaning lord or master. The original dominoes were wooden discs, about the size of a poker chip. A modern version of the game uses small, rectangular ceramic tiles. The tiles are often painted, but they can be blank as well. The pips on the face of each domino are usually colored white, although other colors are sometimes used for special effects in certain games. Dominoes come in many different shapes and sizes, but the most common are a double-nine set (55 tiles) or a double-twelve set of 91 tiles. Occasionally, larger sets are produced for specific purposes.