Domino is a game played with small blocks of wood or plastic, each end bearing a number of spots like those on dice. The game teaches players to match adjacent pieces that share a common side. Dominoes are most often used for positional games, where a player places one domino edge to edge against another to form a line of dominoes that either matches (e.g., two sixes) or total some specified value. Other kinds of domino play include trick-taking and solitaire variants that replicate card games. Many domino games are adaptations of card games, which were once popular in areas where religious proscriptions against gambling forbid the playing of cards.
Domino has been around for a long time, but the game’s popularity has exploded in recent years. It is now a popular activity in schools, churches, and social groups. It is also a fun way to learn basic numbers and math skills, and it helps develop spatial awareness, motor skills, and strategy. In addition, it is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety.
The game was first recorded in the mid-18th century in Italy and France, and it was brought to England by French prisoners toward the end of the same period. It was not widely available in the United States until the early 20th century. There are a variety of domino variations, but the most basic is for two players, using a double-six set. Each player draws seven tiles from the stock, or boneyard, and places them in front of him or her. Each player then takes turns drawing and placing the resulting pieces on the table, until each hand contains only seven tiles.
In some variants, players draw only a single domino from the stock to start each turn. The player who picks up this “opening” domino leads with it, and the other players follow suit by playing a matching piece. The players continue to play until the highest domino is uncovered. Then the next player plays a tile, and so on.
A domino that is matched and placed in play, but has no more matching tiles to add to the line, is called a dead domino. Dead dominoes are used to block opponents, as well as in scoring games such as bergen and muggins, where winning depends on eliminating all of an opponent’s points.
The word domino is derived from the Latin dominus, meaning “lord” or “master.” A masterful Domino player understands that each action has consequences and always thinks two moves ahead.
Domino also refers to the process of a leader rising through the ranks within an organization or group. A masterful Domino is able to inspire others and motivate them to achieve the group’s goals.