Originally, the word domino meant a hooded cape worn by Christian priests during the winter months. It became popular in France shortly after 1750. The game has since spread worldwide. The earliest known manual for the game, Xuan He Pai Pu, was written by Qu You in the 14th century. It was presented to the emperor Hui Tsung and was circulated abroad.
Dominoes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. European-style dominos are traditionally made of dark hardwoods such as ebony and ivory. Unlike the Chinese dominos, European dominos lack distinguishing colors and suit distinctions. However, these games are often used for positional games.
In domino games, tiles are placed in a way that ensures the tower will be stable. To play dominos, players take turns adding dominoes to the platform. Typically, the first tile played is a double-six. Next, a tile is placed perpendicular to the double so that the two end pieces touch at the center of the table. The next player must then match one end of the domino to part of the first tile.
The player who has the highest double leads with a double-six. The next player may also play a double-five or a double-four. The third tile is vertically placed and the fourth is placed perpendicular to the double. The fifth tile is placed perpendicular to the sixth tile.
In some versions of dominos, players may match all four sides of the tile. In some versions of the game, the second player may match only one end of the domino to the first tile. In other versions of the game, both players may chip out.
In Western dominoes, all double tiles are equal in this sense. Players may only play a double if they can play a tile with the same number at both ends of the chain. The player who plays a domino with the same number on both ends is said to have “stitched up” the ends. In some versions of the game, players may block the opponent’s dominoes. This can be a helpful tactic.
The first player draws one domino from the set. The second player draws a domino from the set, and so on until all players have drawn a domino each. After each round is complete, the players shuffle their hands. The player who shuffled draws the last hand. If all players block, the player with the lowest hand wins.
If a player is blocking, the other players may block him or her from playing. In this case, the player must draw from the stock of unused tiles. The player who shuffles may draw the last hand or the first hand. In the case of the last hand, he or she must choose the first domino in the set.
In the basic block game, a player must have a double-six set. The player must also be able to play a double-six to the left of a 6-6 tile. This means that the player must play a 6-6 tile to the left of the 6-4 tile.