# What is Domino?

Domino is a game where the pieces can be arranged in different patterns. These shapes include straight lines, curved lines, stacked walls, and grids that form pictures. They can also be used in 3D structures like towers and pyramids.

When a domino falls, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy. This energy travels to the next domino and starts a chain reaction.

## Origins

Although there are definite signs of domino being played as early as 1120 AD in China, it was not until the mid-1700s that the game made its way to Europe where it quickly became a fad. It was probably brought to England by French prisoners of war. The word domino itself was first recorded in 1771. It appears to be a contraction of two earlier words, one referring to the black half-mask worn by priests and another to crude woodcuts on paper popular among French peasants.

European domino sets are different from Chinese ones as they were designed to represent all possible outcomes of a roll and therefore do not have blank faces. These differences lead to some confusion over the origin of the game.

## Rules

Players take turns playing dominoes, joining them to matching ends on the line of play. Doubles are sometimes allowed to have their exposed ends scored, causing the line of play to branch.

After a player plays his last domino, play passes to the next player. The winner of a hand is the player who has played all of his dominoes.

The number of points a player scores is the total value of the exposed ends of his dominoes on the lines of play and in his boneyard. Some games allow only scores that are divisible by five, while others make no such restriction. A blank countes as zero points. In some games, at the end of a hand players subtract the total value of the outstanding dominoes in their hands from their running total score.

## Variations

There are a number of variations to domino that can affect the way a game is played. For example, in a heads-up game with two players, the winner of the last hand starts the new one. If there is no clear winner, the player holding the heaviest double may begin the next hand.

In the Block and Draw games, the standard Western domino set of 28 tiles is used. These are shuffled and each player draws a certain number of dominoes, typically seven. These are then placed in front of each player in a manner that other players cannot see the domino faces. This is called a “boneyard.” Other variants include using the double-nine or double-twelve sets for specific games. During the game, each player must make dominoes connect to their personal trains moving clockwise.

## Materials

Domino pieces are flat thumb-sized rectangular blocks that feature a line in the middle to divide the identity-bearing face into two parts. Each part bears from one to six dots or pips. A complete set of dominoes consists of 28 pieces.

The first plastic used in the manufacture of dominoes was Bakelite, which was invented by Leo Baekeland in the 19th century. It was followed by tinplate and basic aluminum.

Modern domino sets are made from a wide variety of materials, from metal to plastic to wood. Some high-end sets are crafted from different woods and finely detailed with layers of lacquer. These pieces are usually more expensive than those made of polymer materials. However, they also tend to be more durable and more resistant to damage.

## Scoring

In a game of domino, players play tiles from their hand to the boneyard and then score points. A tile’s value is determined by its ends, or pips, which range from one to six. A double’s end is always a higher value than its exposed side, and a blank tile counts as zero.

The scoring system varies by game-type, but most are blocking games where the goal is to empty your opponent’s hand of tiles. A winner is declared once a player or team has scored a specified amount of points.

A player’s score may be computed by counting the spots (or pips) of all opposing tiles, or, in partnership play, simply adding up all of one partner’s spot values. Then the total score is rounded to the nearest multiple of five.