Dominoes are small game pieces that are played like cards, but they differ from regular playing cards in a number of ways. They are typically made of a rigid material such as wood or plastic. Their pips are marked with numbers and an arrangement of spots. In some variations, players may be required to knock them out of the hands of their opponents.
The game of dominoes originated in China and spread to Europe by the end of the 17th century. However, it wasn’t until the early 18th century that the game reached France, Italy, and England. It also began spreading to other parts of the world as prisoners of war brought it to the new world.
The game was popular in the United States in the 1860s and later, when the popularity of card games spread across the globe. Traditionally, European dominoes were made of ivory, bone, or dark hardwoods such as ebony. A variety of other materials were also used. One early surviving piece is a single tile from the wreckage of the Mary Rose.
A player’s goal in a domino game is to set up a tower of 3 or 4 dominoes on a platform. Then, the player and his or her teammates take turns playing dominoes one by one. Each round of play ends when the player reaches the target score. This score is usually set at 61 points. Some variations allow a time limit to be set for each round, which can make scoring more difficult.
When playing a double, the player must place the tile perpendicular to the double’s contact at the center. The two adjacent faces must also form a certain total. Other games may consider all four sides of the double open.
The game of dominoes can be played by two players, as in the simple block version. For four players, the objective is to gain the most points. The tiles are usually half the size of regular tiles, and are twice the length of the width.
To begin the game, the first player draws a hand of seven tiles from a double-six set. He or she then shuffles the tiles and draws seven more. On each turn, the players alternately extend their line of play. Once they have reached their target point, the winner is declared.
The heaviest hand is chosen first. The player picks a domino that will help him or her reach their target score. If the heaviest hand is not picked, the player selects a double that will help them. The next player then chooses a double that will help him or her beat the previous player. After that, the second player will play a double that will help him or her get to their target score.
Depending on the game, the winner is the player who has the most points. There are some other variants, such as “Chicken Foot,” which require both players to chip out a domino in order to win.