# The Basics of Dominoes

A domino is a small rectangular wooden or plastic block with a pattern of dots or letters on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. The numbers on the identity-bearing face of a domino are referred to as its pips, and the number of pips on each half of the domino’s face determines its value in a given game, where sides with identical values are matched. Dominoes are used in a variety of games, and they may be stood up to create complex patterns that are impressive when they’re knocked over. Dominoes have also been used to illustrate the principle of the domino effect, in which one action inevitably leads to other actions.

Most domino games are played by two or more players, and each player draws a set of tiles (normally the same number for every player). The first player to play his or her tile puts it on the table. Each subsequent player then plays a tile in such a way that it either matches the previous tile or is placed next to it in a line. The player who successfully completes a chain of matching and adjacent dominoes wins the game.

The earliest known manual about dominoes is the Xuan He Pai Pu (Manual of the Xuanhe Period), which was written in the 13th or 14th century. This was followed by a set of rules published in 1511. Among the rules in this document, the maximum number of pips on a domino was defined as six. Later, the rules were modified to allow for more unique combinations of ends. This led to the development of “extended” sets of dominoes with varying numbers of spots on each end.

While most domino games involve scoring points, some are simply played to see who can be the first player to empty his or her hand. Other games use a blocking strategy, and still others require that players be able to count the pips in their opponents’ hands.

There are many different types of domino games, and the exact rules vary between them. For example, some games are played by arranging the dominoes so that each has a different color on one of its sides, while others are played by lining up the pieces so that their pips form a specific number or pattern. Some games are even played on the floor, using a domino mat or board.

The most popular domino game is probably double-twelve, which can be played by four or more players. Other games are played with a single player, or by pairs of people. Each player draws tiles until he or she has a total of twelve in his or her hand. The value of the dominoes in each pair is then compared, and the winner is the person who has the highest value of all of his or her tiles. In some domino games, the winner is awarded a certain amount of money.