Domino is a family of games played with a set of small rectangular blocks. Each block has a blank or numbered side, and the other two sides are marked by dots resembling those on dice. The number of dots on each face is used to determine the value of the domino when it falls. The most common domino sets consist of 28 tiles, although variations in game rules allow for the use of different size sets.
In most games, the player who can play the domino with the highest total pips counts wins. If a player cannot make a play, they “knock” or rap the table and pass the turn to the next player. Occasionally, the game reaches a point where no players can proceed; in these cases the winner is the partner whose combined total of all spots on their remaining dominoes is least.
Some people create domino art by arranging the tiles into straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, and 3D structures like towers and pyramids. This can be a great way to relieve boredom or stress, and it also makes a beautiful display. However, before creating your own domino art, it’s important to understand the basic principles of how the tiles work together.
A physicist from the University of Toronto explains that when a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy based on its position. When the domino is knocked over, much of this energy is converted to kinetic energy as the other dominoes fall and cause additional dominoes to topple. This process continues in an arithmetical fashion until the entire line of dominoes has fallen.
The most popular domino games are based on blocking and scoring, but there are many other variants which can be played. Some are adaptations of card games, and some were once popular as a means of circumventing religious prohibitions against playing cards. Some games are of a very different nature, and are played with only one domino at a time.
Although the games shown on this site are generally played with a standard domino set, some games are played with a double-nine or double-twelve set. A double-nine set, for example, has 91 tiles instead of the usual 28. When playing a game with a larger set, the number of tiles in a player’s hand will be correspondingly higher.
In some games, the dominoes are shuffled before each player draws his or her hand. If a player draws more tiles for his or her hand than are permitted by the rules of the game, this is known as an overdraw. The excess tiles must then be drawn back into the stock and reshuffled before the player can continue playing. In addition, some games require that the tiles in a player’s hand be played before the game can continue. In these cases, only the player’s allowed number of tiles may be drawn from the stock.