# The Basics of Dominoes

Dominoes are square pieces with matching ends that show a number or blank. They are normally twice as long as they are wide. Each end has a value, ranging from six pips to none or blank.

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## Rules

There are a number of rules that apply to domino, depending on the game. The most basic rule is that a player may not make a domino “public” by placing it on the tile line or by removing a marker from a train (a tile chain). A player is rewarded points at the end of each round based on the value of their remaining unplayed tiles, usually rounded to a multiple of five.

Dominoes are marked with an arrangement of pips, similar to the dots on a die, on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. Each face of a domino has two square ends, each with a number from zero to six, although only seven tiles have both numbers on their open ends.

The domino is placed on the table such that the two matching ends are adjacent. This gives rise to a complex shape of domino chains that develop according to the whims and limitations of space.

## Variations

There are many different types of dominoes. The most common are the double-six and double-nine sets. These contain 28 and 55 tiles respectively. Players can also buy “extended” sets, containing more than two times as many tiles as the standard set.

The game was first introduced to the world by a man named Hung Ming, who supposedly invented it during a long trip. He used 32 domino tiles, which represented all the possible faces of two thrown dice. The British later adopted the game, probably brought back by prisoners of war from France in the late 1700s.

In the basic game, a player wins by placing all their pieces in a line. The exposed ends must match (one’s touch one’s, two’s touch two’s, etc). When the line is complete, the winner scores points by adding up all the dots on the uncovered sides. In addition to this, the player can remove the middle tile if all three adjacent tiles share a common number or consolidate them.

## Materials

There are many types of domino materials that have been used over the centuries. These include plastics, metals, and wood. These can be purchased in a wide range of quality levels and design styles. Some of these are even used to make specialty items like the large yard dominoes pictured above.

The most common type of domino is a set of double-six tiles. This means that the tiles feature a total of 28 different numbers, from 0 to 6. Each number belongs to one of two suits: the suit of numbered dominoes and the suit of blanks or 0 dominoes.

Domino manufacture saw a major breakthrough in the 19th century when Leo Baekeland invented Bakelite. This became the material of choice for domino racks and tiles until the development of petroleum-based plastic in the latter part of the 20th century. These are now the dominant type of domino. They are usually twice as long as they are wide and made to be thick enough to stand on their edge without falling over.

## Scoring

Depending on the game, scoring in domino is done by counting the number of pips on the tiles. Some games have a set number of rounds, while others are played until a certain point limit is reached. In the latter case, the player with the highest score wins.

The first player plays a tile face-up in the center of the table. Each subsequent player must match one end of their tile to the first. This creates four open lines that other players can add to. Typically, the pips on each end of the tile are counted separately.

Dominos have a squared shape, and each end has a pips-value from zero up to six. These pips are organized into suits, and each tile belongs to at least two of the suits. A double may have one or two pips, and it can belong to the suit of trebles or the suit of blanks (or the 0 suit). Larger sets of dominoes exist for playing larger, longer games.