The Basics of Domino

Domino is a game piece that, like playing cards or dice, has many different uses. It consists of rectangular tiles with an arrangement of spots, or “pips,” on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. Each pips represents a number from zero to six. Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide. They can be used for positional games, where each player places a domino edge to edge against another in order to form a line of matching dominoes. They can also be used for scoring, where each domino must cover or match a certain number of adjacent spots.

Dominos are made of a material that is both strong and flexible. This allows them to be placed in a very precise way, which is critical for many games. The shape of the domino is determined by how it is molded and baked, as well as by the size and pattern of its pips. Some manufacturers produce a range of specialized dominos, such as double-six, single-six and double-nine, designed to meet specific gaming needs, including scoring games.

A basic domino set consists of twenty-eight tiles. The first player to make a play, starting with the center tile, begins to lay a chain of dominoes along a line that extends outward from him or her. The next player adds a tile to the end of the line, and so on. When a player plays a tile, the other side of that domino must touch the open end of the previous tile, or be perpendicular to it (a double-six touching a double-six). The shape that develops is sometimes referred to as the string, layout, or line of play.

The resulting line is typically a snake-like configuration, but can also be a straight line. Dominoes may be added to the line of play either lengthwise or crosswise, depending on the rules of the particular game being played. In most games, doubles are always played crosswise; singles can be added either lengthwise or across the line of play.

While the standard domino set is made of plastic, there are sets fashioned from more luxurious materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, and a dark hardwood such as ebony. These sets are often more durable than their polymer counterparts and have a richer, more substantial feel. They are often more expensive, however.

In addition to the traditional blocking and scoring games, there are numerous other domino games that use a variety of strategies to create more interesting challenges. These games typically involve positioning the pieces in ways that allow players to dominate their opponents’ moves.

Domino has also been used for more serious purposes, such as in mathematical investigations and the design of physical structures such as bridges. During these projects, scientists use domino to test for the strength and stability of structures before they are built, as well as for other purposes, such as creating a model of an earthquake.