Originally, the word domino was used for a black and white hood, worn by Christian priests during the winter months. Later, the word domino came to mean a masquerade mask or a long hooded cloak, used by monastics. The first recorded use of the word domino was in 1771 in the French dictionary Dictionnaire de Trevoux.
The domino game came to Britain in the mid-18th century from France, where it was first played. It was introduced by French prisoners of war who may have brought it to England. It also appeared in American literature by the 1860s. The game is usually played in pairs, with each player having a hand of dominoes.
Dominoes are rectangular tiles that have number markings on each end. These markings are intended to represent the results of two dice being rolled. Some dominos are blank, while others have Arabic numerals on them. They are usually about 2 inches in length and 1 inch in width. They are usually made of ivory or dark hardwood, such as ebony. They are typically used in European domino games.
Each domino has a specific number on each end, and the number of tiles in a set is usually a specific number as well. The most common domino sets are double-6, double-9, double-12, and double-15. In addition to these standard sets, there are also some newer party games that are designed to be played with larger sets. The double-18 set is 190 tiles, and the double-21 set is 253 tiles. Some larger domino sets have Arabic numerals instead of pips.
The first domino in a set is often called the “spinner.” The second tile is usually 6-6, and the third tile is vertically placed. The fourth tile is usually 5-5, and the fifth tile is usually 4-3. The sixth tile is usually 6-4, and the seventh tile is usually 5-4. The eighth tile is 5-7, and the ninth tile is 6-4.
The domino chain shapes vary from game to game. Some versions of the game require both players to chip out their tiles. Others take turns turning over two tiles at a time. In the concentration variant, the total number of pips in a set is used to determine if a player scores. If the total is divisible by 5, the player wins. In the trick-taking game, the number of tiles in the other players’ hands is also used. However, if the number of tiles in a player’s hand is not divisible by five, the player cannot score.
Most domino games require a player to knock out his or her tiles, but some versions allow players to add tiles to a line of dominoes. When a player knocks out a tile, he or she can no longer play it. Unless the player has previously noticed the mistake, he or she must take it back and play the tile correctly. It is not uncommon for players to play a wrong tile during their first turn.