Dominoes are a set of small rectangular blocks of wood or other material marked with an arrangement of spots, called “pips,” on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. When a domino is knocked over, it triggers a chain reaction that continues to the next block and then to the rest of the line, much like a nerve impulse traveling along an axon. Dominos are used to play a variety of games that involve blocking, scoring and passing. Some of these games were developed to circumvent religious prohibitions against playing cards.
The first player to complete a full row of dominoes wins the game. A win can also be achieved by reaching a specific target score in a given number of rounds. In this case, the player who is closer to the target wins. The rules for scoring in a particular game may vary from place to place, but the general principle is that the player who earns the most points during a given number of rounds is declared the winner.
When a player draws more tiles for his hand than he is permitted, this is referred to as overdrawing. The player to the right of the overdrawn player takes the extra dominoes without looking at them and returns them to the stock before anyone else draws for their hands. Alternatively, these extra tiles may be bought (see “Passing and Byeing” below) from the stock at some point later in the game.
In many domino games, doubles may be played either as one or two (either straddling the end of the tile it connects to or forming a cross-ways connection). In most cases, additional tiles may only be placed against the open ends of a domino. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
Some players choose to count the total number of pips on opposing players’ tiles at the end of a hand or game to determine the winner. This is often a more accurate method of scoring. However, the players must agree on how to count a double. For example, a 6-6 may be counted as only six or as 12 depending on the rules of the game.
The word “domino” has several meanings, including the Latin dominus, meaning lord or master, but it is probably best known as a name for a game that involves blocking and scoring. It is also a good name for a person who has the sense of purpose and leadership that the game encourages. A dominant character is someone who thinks twice about what he is doing and considers the consequences of his actions for himself and others.