Domino is a tile-based game of chance in which players attempt to make a set of tiles that will contain a certain number of spots. The tiles are a variant of playing cards and can be made from a variety of materials, including woods, metals and ceramic clay.
The earliest domino sets were made from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (MOP) or ivory with contrasting black or white pips. More modern dominoes can be made from a variety of woods, including maple and ash, as well as metals such as brass and pewter.
Traditional European-style dominoes are made of bone, MOP or ivory with contrasting black or white patterned pips. The top half of these sets is usually thicker than the lower, and some are inlaid or painted.
Other modern sets may be thinner, with a more novel look and feel; they often are made of a polymer material or even from frosted glass or crystal. These are also more expensive than those made from traditional materials, but they can have a higher degree of quality and durability.
While many people associate dominoes with children, they are actually an important part of a wide variety of traditional and modern games. For example, a domino is used as a decorative element in a Chinese-style board game called Tien Gow. The dominoes are arranged into a geometric pattern of lines and squares, and the goal is to make a set that contains each possible combination of two ends with a certain number of spots.
Another popular domino game is the block-and-draw, which consists of 28 tiles shuffled face down and placed on a table. Each player draws seven of these tiles, and the leader plays the domino that has the highest total number of pips.
Some players prefer a larger set of tiles, usually one with a double-six or even a double-nine count. This is because these types of games have more options for scoring than other kinds of domino games, which typically have only a single-six or double-nine count.
The most basic form of dominoes is a block-and-draw game, where the tiles are shuffled and placed face down on a table. The leader plays the domino that has the highest number of pips, and each player then draws seven from the stock, or boneyard.
There are several domino variants, each of which has its own rules. In the most common Western variant, players draw seven tiles from a stock of 28 tiles.
In the most popular American game, Five-Up, the tiles are shuffled and placed on a table so that the front row is visible. The tiles are then flipped over to reveal their values.
Other domino variants include a game that is similar to chess, called billiards, and a game of rummy, where the player is attempting to score the highest number of points. These are usually played with a large or double-nine set of tiles, though other smaller sets may be available.