Domino is a game played with a set of dominoes, each domino having two adjacent ends. The ends are either blank or bear from one to six pips, dots. A complete domino set consists of 28 such tiles. There are many different games that can be played with such a set. Each game has its own rules and scoring. The winning player is the one who scores the highest total number of pips.
During play, each player places a domino on the table positioning it so that its ends match up with those of another tile already on the table. The result is that the domino chain grows in length. If a player plays a tile with the result that both ends show the same number (usually a number useful to the player and distasteful to opponents) then the chain is said to be “stitched up.”
Players usually draw one domino to determine their seating arrangement at the table, although if no players have a double or higher then the player holding the heaviest single begins play. If a tie exists, the players may choose to break it by drawing new hands. The players then begin playing their games.
As the first domino falls, it converts much of its potential energy to kinetic energy, the energy of motion. This kinetic energy is transmitted to the next domino in the chain, giving it the push it needs to fall. Then, the domino in turn transmits this kinetic energy to the next in the chain, and so on until all of the dominoes have fallen.
In most games, each player tries to build up a line of dominoes which extends out from his or her own seat. This line of dominoes is called a “line of play.” Depending on the particular game, points are scored by counting the pips on the exposed ends of the dominoes which remain in each player’s hand at the end of a hand or game. This method of scoring may also be modified to count only one side of a double.
When the first domino is placed on the table, it is called the lead. The player who holds the heaviest double, or the heaviest single if there is no double, seats himself to the left of the lead and takes his turn first. If a player cannot place a tile on his turn, he or she draws a new domino from the stock.
Dominos made of natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony are often preferred by some players for their beauty and durability. These sets tend to be more expensive than those made of polymer materials. Some sets are also available in a variety of novel materials such as ceramic clay, frosted glass, or marble. In these cases, the pips are typically painted on rather than inlaid. The resulting dominoes are typically much heavier than those made of polymer material.