Dominoes are small rectangular blocks, similar to playing cards, that are used in games. These tiles are often made from rigid material, such as plastic or bone. Some of the tiles are blank and others are marked with a particular arrangement of spots. The set is often divided into two squares, called ends, which are separated by a line in the middle.
Dominoes can be played as individual pieces, or in pairs. In a pair game, one player is the lead, and the other player takes turns drawing dominoes from the stock. If the lead player’s partner doesn’t knock, the game ends. Players then take turns adding dominoes to the platform. After each player has picked a tile from the stock, they shuffle their hand.
A common domino set is double-six, with 28 tiles. This set is commonly used in positional games, in which the players attempt to maintain a position on the board by extending a line of play to the right, left, or down.
Double-nine, with 55 tiles, is another popular set. A player who plays with this set can win by being the first to play a double. When a double is placed on the table, the other players are required to draw a new one from the stock. However, if the player is unable to draw a new one, he is given a ‘bonus’ play, which is awarded to the player who played the original tile.
Another type of domino game is 5s-and-3s. It is a pair game in which players can score when they can break five or three into two separate tiles. There is also a concentration version of this game, in which a player’s total pip count must be a certain number. Alternatively, a five-count can be scored if the total pips on exposed ends is divisible by five.
Another popular domino game is Hector’s Rules. The first player plays a double, which is a spinner. The second player then plays a tile to the right of the 6-6 tile. The third player then plays a tile vertically.
Other versions of dominoes include games with no scoring restrictions. For example, Chinese dominoes do not require a player to match his or her tiles. Also, some domino sets allow tiles to be joined on all four sides of the board.
Most domino games are played in pairs. Each player has a hand of dominoes that are used to score points. During the game, the player whose partner has the least amount of tiles on the board wins.
Depending on the version of the game, each player can see how many tiles are in their opponent’s hand, but he or she cannot tell how many are in their own. Playing the game is a way to learn about other players’ strategies.
Besides games, dominoes are also used for entertainment, such as domino toppling. A domino game is typically scored by awarding pips on the opposing player’s tiles.