The Basics of Domino

Domino is the game of dominoes – the small square tiles that are set up to form chains or other structures. They have an arrangement of dots, called pips, on one side and are blank or identically patterned on the other. Dominoes are often used to make patterns or drawings, but they are also played for fun by people of all ages.

Many different games can be played with a set of dominoes, and the rules vary from game to game. Some have very similar and even identical rules, but others have very different rules that may change the outcome of the game. The game is most popular in Latin America and other parts of the world, but it is not widely played in the United States.

A player draws the number of dominoes he is permitted to draw according to the rules of the game and places them in front of him. This configuration of the dominoes is called the layout, string or line of play. Each player then places his first tile in the line of play. It must be a double to open the game, and then other tiles may be played onto it as they match. This chain of tiles is then played across the table. Doubles are played crosswise, while singles are played lengthwise.

When the player to the right plays a tile that matches to an existing double, the chain of dominoes is developed in the shape of a snake. This development is an important part of the entertainment value of the game, as it provides a great deal of anticipation as each new domino is placed. When a player plays a tile to an existing double, it must be positioned so that the two matching ends of the domino are touching completely.

The word domino was once used to describe a garment, and it is possible that it brought to mind the black hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade. However, the term soon came to be applied to the playing piece itself. It is not known how or why it changed its meaning to the current sense, but the shift is likely to have occurred sometime after 1750.

While there are many different games that can be played with a set of dominoes, most of them have the same basic principles. The most common method of determining which player will play the first is by drawing lots. This is done after the dominoes have been shuffled, and the player who draws the highest domino seats himself to his left. Alternatively, players may decide to seat themselves by the seating arrangement of the previous game. If there is a tie, the player holding the heaviest double may begin play. This is also referred to as setting the heaviest domino, or leading. The winner of the last game may also open the next game if there is no tie.