The game of dominoes is a variation of the classic card game. Dominoes are square-shaped with identifying marks on one side and blank on the other. The identifying marks are usually spots or pips and some are completely blank. Players take turns picking a domino from the stock, and shuffle their hands after each turn. Some variants require players to pick seven dominoes at once. Players can win the game by getting rid of all their opponent’s dominoes.
The game of domino is believed to have originated in China, and playing cards are the closest relative. The Chinese dominoes were designed to represent all possible throws with two dice, and were sometimes called “dotted cards” due to their no-blank faces. Traditionally, Chinese dominoes are used for trick-taking games. The Western five-three game is played with a 5 on one end and a 3 on the other, while the Chinese version has five on all sides.
European-style dominoes were first made in the early eighteenth century. Italians imported the game to Europe, where it became popular. The translation of the game into European culture altered the rules slightly. European domino sets did not include duplicates or class distinctions. Instead, they contain seven additional dominoes, which represent the six values of a single die throw and a blank-blank (0-0).
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Historically, dominoes have been used as a gambling game. The traditional set includes a unique piece for each of the 21 possible combinations of two ends with one or more spots. These spots are usually arranged as a six-sided dice, and the highest value domino has six pips on each end. Chinese sets also include blank ends with no spots to create seven faces, allowing for a total of 28 unique pieces.
After the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Lyndon B. Johnson used the domino theory to justify escalating the U.S. military presence in Vietnam. Unfortunately, the domino theory failed to take into account the character of the Viet Cong struggle. It assumed that Ho Chi Minh and his supporters were puppets of communist giants who wanted to spread communism to Southeast Asia. This assumption was a mistake.