Dominoes are small black and white rectangular pieces that can be used in various games. The most common domino games involve scoring. Each player takes turns drawing a number of tiles from a stock. These are then placed on the edges of a table in front of them. They are then shuffled face down, and the players play the highest domino that they can.

There are many nicknames for dominoes, including bones, tickets, tiles, and spinners. But the original meaning of the word is quite obscure. It originally meant a long hooded cloak, mask, or cape worn by priests. In the 17th century, the word was translated to mean a piece of paper used for writing, and later to a crude woodcut.

Although the exact origins of the word are unclear, the game began in Italy and France in the mid-18th century. French prisoners of war brought dominoes to England, where they were eventually introduced to the rest of the world.

A falling domino is an excellent model for the transmission of signal. When the first domino in a line is tipped over, the next domino in the line is also tipped over, and the chain reaction continues.

Most modern domino sets are made of 28 pieces, although some larger sets use Arabic numerals instead of pips. Typically, the larger the set, the more difficult it becomes to identify the pips.

Dominoes were first introduced in Europe in the mid-18th century. Traditionally, they were made of ivory or dark hardwood such as ebony. However, they were quickly adapted to other materials.

Traditionally, each domino consists of two squares. One of the squares is marked with a particular arrangement of spots, and the other is blank. Depending on the style, these may be divided into long rows, or they can be lined up and knocked down in a row.

Dominoes are usually played with two to four people. However, there are numerous variants of the game, such as trick-taking, and some are even more complex. Some traditional Chinese domino games include Pai Gow, Che Deng, and Tien Gow.

The term domino is often used interchangeably with “cards.” The most basic form is called a block-and-draw game. Two to four players take turns drawing a certain number of pieces from a stock. For example, in a double-six domino set, each player draws six. If no player has drawn a tile from a stock, the last tile in the set is eliminated.

Another variation of the game, known as the matador, has players try to play a number that adds up to seven when it is added to an end. Players can see how many opponents have tiles in their hand and can make a judgment about the value of the opponent’s tiles.

Other domino games are trick-taking and solitaire. Unlike most Western games, Chinese dominoes do not require matching. Instead, the goal is to reach a particular total of pips on the layout.