Domino is a game of matching or toppling rectangular gaming pieces (also called dominoes or tiles). They are similar to dice, but have one more important distinction: their faces are divided by a line into two square ends, each with a number of spots on it (called pips). The backs of the pieces in a set are usually blank.
There are several different types of domino sets, which vary in size, number of pips, and material. Some are made of wood, while others are made of a variety of natural materials such as stone or shells.
They have also been made of metal and ceramic clay, and some are even frosted glass or crystal. They are a popular game with adults and children.
The game can be played in a variety of ways, and the rules are often flexible, depending on the type of domino set used. The most basic domino game requires a double-six set and is usually played by two players. Each player draws seven tiles from a stock, which is shuffled face down in front of the players before they begin playing.
During the game, a player tries to match one of their dominoes to the end of a previously-played domino by placing it next to the other domino so that they have an equal number of pips. When the pips on the other domino match those on the previous domino, that domino is considered a winner.
A common form of the game is a block-and-draw variant in which a stock or boneyard is formed and each player chooses seven dominoes from it. The dominoes are then shuffled face down on the table, and a leader is chosen by drawing the piece that has the highest total pip count. Then, the players play a series of blocks and draw dominoes until one of them is eliminated.
Other domino games are more complex and specialized, such as concentration or a trick-taking version of solitaire. These variations require a different set of dominoes and may be played by three or more people.
Some of the earliest European domino sets were made of silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell or mother of pearl, with contrasting black or white pips. These sets were also more expensive than ones made of other materials, such as ebony or hardwood.
Traditional European dominoes have a line down their middle and a line down their ends, and are divided by this line into two squares. The backs of the pieces in a domino set are blank or have a unique design.
There are several different types of sets, with a traditional set consisting of 28 pieces. Some sets have more than 28 pieces, and some are larger than the standard sets. The largest sets are referred to as “double 18” sets, and contain 190 dominoes.
Most domino sets are made from wood, such as ash or oak. Some are made from metal, such as brass or pewter. They are often much heavier and more expensive than the polymer-based sets, and they are sometimes sandblasted to add a touch of elegance.