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The name "domino" is most likely from the resemblance to a kind of carnival costume worn during the Venetian Carnival , often consisting of a black-hooded robe and a white mask. European-style dominoes are traditionally made of bone or ivory , or a dark hardwood such as ebony , with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted.
Alternatively, domino sets have been made from many different natural materials: These sets have a more novel look, and the often heavier weight makes them feel more substantial; also, such materials and the resulting products are usually much more expensive than polymer materials. Modern commercial domino sets are usually made of synthetic materials, such as ABS or polystyrene plastics, or Bakelite and other phenolic resins ; many sets approximate the look and feel of ivory while others use colored or even translucent plastics to achieve a more contemporary look.
Modern sets also commonly use a different color for the dots of each different end value one-spots might have black pips while two-spots might be green, three red, etc. Occasionally, one may find a domino set made of card stock like that for playing cards. Such sets are lightweight, compact, and inexpensive, and like cards are more susceptible to minor disturbances such as a sudden breeze.
Sometimes, dominoes have a metal pin called a spinner or pivot in the middle. The traditional set of dominoes contains one unique piece for each possible combination of two ends with zero to six spots, and is known as a double-six set because the highest-value piece has six pips on each end the "double six".
The spots from one to six are generally arranged as they are on six-sided dice , but because blank ends having no spots are used, seven faces are possible, allowing 28 unique pieces in a double-six set.
However, this is a relatively small number especially when playing with more than four people, so many domino sets are "extended" by introducing ends with greater numbers of spots, which increases the number of unique combinations of ends and thus of pieces. Each progressively larger set increases the maximum number of pips on an end by three, so the common extended sets are double-nine, double, double, and double Larger sets such as double can theoretically exist, but are rarely seen in retail stores, as identifying the number of pips on each domino becomes difficult, and a double set would have pieces, far more than is normally necessary for most domino games even with eight players.
The oldest confirmed written mention of dominoes in China comes from the Former Events in Wulin i. In the Encyclopedia of a Myriad of Treasures , Zhang Pu — described the game of laying out dominoes as pupai , although the character for pu had changed, yet retained the same pronunciation. The piece Chinese domino set, made to represent each possible face of two thrown dice and thus have no blank faces, differs from the piece domino set found in the West during the mid 18th century.
Many different domino sets have been used for centuries in various parts of the world to play a variety of domino games. Each domino originally represented one of the 21 results of throwing two six-sided dice 2d6.
One half of each domino is set with the pips from one die and the other half contains the pips from the second die. Chinese sets also introduce duplicates of some throws and divide the dominoes into two suits: The early 18th century had dominoes making their way to Europe, making their first appearance in Italy.
The game changed somewhat in the translation from Chinese to the European culture. European domino sets contain neither suit distinctions nor the duplicates that went with them. Instead, European sets contain seven additional dominoes, with six of these representing the values that result from throwing a single die with the other half of the tile left blank, and the seventh domino representing the blank-blank 0—0 combination. Ivory dominoes were routinely used in 19th-century rural England in the settling of disputes over traditional grazing boundaries, and were commonly referred to as "bonesticks".
Domino tiles, also known as bones, are twice as long as they are wide and usually have a line in the middle dividing them into two squares. The value of either side is the number of spots or pips. In the most common variant double-six , the values range from blank or no pips to six. Tiles are generally named after their two values; e. Tiles that have the same value on both ends are called doubles, and are typically referred to as double-zero, double-one, etc.
Every tile belongs to the two suits of its two values, e. Naturally the doubles form an exception in that each double belongs to only one suit. The most common domino sets commercially available are double six with 28 tiles and double nine with 55 tiles.
Larger sets exist and are popular for games involving several players or for players looking for long domino games. The most popular type of play are layout games, which fall into two main categories, blocking games and scoring games. The most basic domino variant is for two players and requires a double-six set. The 28 tiles are shuffled face down and form the stock or boneyard.
Each player draws seven tiles; the remainder are not used. Once the players begin drawing tiles, they are typically placed on-edge in front of the players, so each player can see their own tiles, but none can see the value of other players' tiles. Every player can thus see how many tiles remain in the opponent's hands at all times during gameplay.
One player begins by downing playing the first tile one of their tiles. This tile starts the line of play, in which values of adjacent pairs of tile ends must match. The players alternately extend the line of play with one tile at one of its two ends; if a player is unable to place a valid tile, they must keep on pulling tiles from the stock until they can.
The game ends when one player wins by playing their last tile, or when the game is blocked because neither player can play.
If that occurs, whoever caused the block gets all of the remaining player points not counting their own. Players accrue points during game play for certain configurations, moves, or emptying one's hand.
Most scoring games use variations of the draw game. If a player does not call "domino" before the tile is laid on the table, and another player says domino after the tile is laid, the first player must pick up an extra domino.
In a draw game blocking or scoring , players are additionally allowed to draw as many tiles as desired from the stock before playing a tile, and they are not allowed to pass before the stock is nearly empty. Most rules prescribe that two tiles need to remain in the stock. Adaptations of both games can accommodate more than two players, who may play individually or in teams. The line of play is the configuration of played tiles on the table. It starts with a single tile and typically grows in two opposite directions when players add matching tiles.
In practice, players often play tiles at right angles when the line of play gets too close to the edge of the table. The rules for the line of play often differ from one variant to another. In many rules, the doubles serve as spinners, i. Sometimes, the first tile is required to be a double, which serves as the only spinner. Matador has unusual rules for matching. Bendomino uses curved tiles, so one side of the line of play or both may be blocked for geometrical reasons.
In Mexican Train and other train games, the game starts with a spinner from which various trains branch off. Most trains are owned by a player and in most situations players are allowed to extend only their own train. In blocking games, scoring happens at the end of the game. After a player has emptied their hand, thereby winning the game for the team, the score consists of the total pip count of the losing team's hands.
In some rules, the pip count of the remaining stock is added. If a game is blocked because no player can move, the winner is often determined by adding the pips in players' hands. In scoring games, each individual can potentially add to the score. For example, in Bergen , players score two points whenever they cause a configuration in which both open ends have the same value and three points if additionally one open end is formed by a double.
In variants of Muggins, the line of play may branch due to spinners. In British public houses and social clubs, a scoring version of "5s-and-3s" is used. The game is normally played in pairs two against two and is played as a series of "ends". In each "end", the objective is for players to attach a domino from their hand to one end of those already played so that the sum of the end dominoes is divisible by five or three. One point is scored for each time five or three can be divided into the sum of the two dominoes, i.
Double five at one end and five at the other makes 15, which is divisible by three five times five points and divisible by five three times three points for a total of eight points. An "end" stops when one of the players is out, i.
In the event no player is able to empty their hand, then the player with the lowest domino left in hand is deemed to be out and scores one point. A game consists of any number of ends with points scored in the ends accumulating towards a total.
The game ends when one of the pair's total score exceeds a set number of points. A running total score is often kept on a cribbage board. For 40 years the game has been played by four people, with the winner being the first player to score points, in multiples of five, by using 27 bones, using mathematical strategic defenses and explosive offense.
At times, it has been played with pairs of partners. The double-six set is the preferred deck with the lowest denomination of game pieces, with 28 dominoes. In many versions of the game, the player with the highest double leads with that double, for example "double-six".
If no one has it, the next-highest double is called: If no player has an "opening" double, the next heaviest domino in the highest suit is called - "six-five? In some variants, players take turns picking dominoes from the stock until an opening double is picked and played. In other variants, the hand is reshuffled and each player picks seven dominoes. After the first hand, the winner or winning team of the previous hand is allowed to pick first and begins by playing any domino in his or her hand.
Playing the first bone of a hand is sometimes called setting, leading, downing, or posing the first bone. Unfortunately, they are not as plentiful as they once were due to bonus abusers. The sign-up bonus is a lucrative way to boost your starting bankroll with extra free credits added to your account.
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