Day: February 23, 2024


A domino is a small, rectangular block used as gaming object. Also called bones, pieces, or men, they can be made of wood, ivory, bone, plastic, or even metal and are often characterized by their ability to stand upright on one edge with their opposite end pointed down. Each domino has a surface dotted with spots, commonly called pips. The most common domino sets feature white dominoes with black pips, although other color combinations are available. The number of pips on the ends varies, with the most common being double-six and double-nine. In the West, most domino games are based on positional play; each player in turn places a tile on the table positioning it so that its adjacent ends form either an identical pattern (such as 5 to 5) or some specified total.

Dominoes are often used as components of Rube Goldberg machines, but also can be arranged to create elaborate art or simply left to fall in carefully constructed sequences that take a nail-biting minute or two to complete. Artists and hobbyists set up displays using hundreds or thousands of tiles, and they compete to build the most impressive domino effect before a live audience of fans at events such as domino shows.

In the modern world, domino is often made of synthetic materials such as ABS or polystyrene plastics; bakelite and other phenolic resins have been used to approximate the look and feel of ivory, and ceramic clay can give a more organic and natural appearance. Some sets are still manufactured from stone (e.g., marble, granite, or soapstone), and some have a more elegant and sophisticated look with metals such as brass or pewter. These sets are generally much more expensive than those produced from polymer materials.

Most domino games are played by one to four players, with each taking turns placing a tile onto the table so that it touches an adjacent piece that has either a matching number of spots or none at all. The resulting chains, or “trains”, can be used to score points in a variety of ways depending on the game. For example, in the game bergen and muggins, points are calculated by counting the pips on the losing player’s dominoes, while blocking games such as matador, chicken foot, and Mexican train determine how many tiles a player must place before his or her opponent can play.

Unlike cards, dominoes are not prone to wind blowing them away and can be stored in a box or on a shelf for easy access. They are also an excellent way to teach children the basic principles of math while having fun and exercising their motor skills. In fact, many schools and child-care centers have dominoes in the classroom or in the playground for this very reason. As a result, domino is a beloved game that is likely to remain popular for decades to come. It’s just as much a part of the American culture as football or baseball.