Domino, also known as dominoes or dominations, are a set of small square tiles that can be used to play various games. These tiles are arranged in lines and angular patterns that can make them very attractive and fun to look at. While many people think of the game as a way to pass time, it is actually a great tool for learning math and counting. It is also a good way to spend quality time with family or friends. The word domino and the game itself appeared around 1750, although the name may have even earlier origins. The word domino originally denoted a long hooded cloak worn together with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade, while the game itself probably originated in France.
In the most common form of the game, a line of dominoes is formed as each player plays their tile. This arrangement is called the line of play or layout. The tiles are arranged by matching the pips on their open ends. Once a line of tiles is completed, it can be moved to another part of the table, and the new arrangement is called a layout or string.
The game of domino has a number of variations and rules. Some of these rules are specific to a particular set, while others are more general. In addition, there are some variations in how the score is calculated. For example, some players count the pips on all of the tiles left in the losers’ hands at the end of a hand or the game and then add that number to their total. Other players only count the pips on a single domino that is played and don’t consider doubles.
One of the reasons that domino is so popular is because of the wide variety of games that can be played with it. Most of these games fall into four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games and round games.
There are also some domino games that don’t require any playing of tiles. These are usually adaptations of card games and were once popular in some areas as a way to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards.
A domino set is normally twice as wide as it is tall, making the pieces easy to re-stack after use. Each domino has two sides, with each side bearing from one to six pips or dots. A domino with no pips is blank. Each side of a domino has a different value, and the sum of all the pips on a domino is its rank or weight. A domino with a single-pip side is more “light” than a domino with a double-pip side.
Physicist Stephen Morris of the University of Toronto has discovered that standing a domino upright gives it potential energy, which is converted to kinetic energy when the domino falls over. In fact, he has shown that a domino can knock over objects about a foot and a half its size.