What is Domino?

Domino is a game of skill and luck played with a set of dominoes. Each domino is a rectangular tile with the identity-bearing side decorated with spots (also called pips) or blank. In the most common variant, each domino has two matching ends that are adjacent and a value on each of the other four sides – normally either identical or some specified total. Each player in turn places a domino edge to edge on the table positioning it so that the number shown at one end matches with the other or is otherwise useful. The resulting domino chain develops a snake-like shape according to the whims and limitations of the playing surface and the particular rules of the game.

In its most general sense, domino is a verb meaning “to knock over or topple.” The term comes from Latin, where it denotes an event that has a cascading effect. Its English origin is obscure, although it may refer to a black hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade. The word also earlier referred to the cape worn by a priest over his surplice, and to a piece in such a hooded costume.

The most widely used dominoes in the West are usually a double-six set. Other sets of dominoes are in use throughout the world. There are many games that can be played with these, although the most common are in positional form. In positional games, each player places a domino on the table – sometimes called a draw – so that its two matching ends are adjacent. Alternatively, it is placed perpendicular to a double touching at its middle, in which case it forms an intersection with the two previous tiles.

Each domino has a value on each of its four sides, typically ranging from six to none. A domino with a blank side is sometimes known as a wild card, and players who ascribe different values to its corners often choose to treat the blanks differently. If a player has no more available tiles, he or she stops play and passes the turn to his or her opponent.

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