Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks made of rigid material. They are frequently referred to as bones, pieces, men, cards or tiles and are used for various types of games.

Domino is a popular recreational game in which players try to play each tile on the end to match one of the ones already played by a fellow player, or to add up the open-end pips on a layout and form a score. Different rules exist for various variants of domino. These vary from the traditional game in which the player matches the tiles to a certain number of ends to a more complex version, such as matador or bendomino, where the goal is to play the tiles so that a specific total of points is formed.

The basic set of dominoes contains two contrasting ends with a total of six pips on each, ranging from zero to six. This is known as a “double-six” set, and it is the most common. There are also progressively larger sets.

A traditional double-six set may contain as many as 28 unique pieces. These can be arranged in a variety of ways, but a double-six set always has the highest-value piece on each end.

Other variations of the traditional game use a number of other types of tiles, and often feature special tiles or combinations of the regular pieces. Most of these variations are adaptations of card games, but some are original domino games.

Most European dominoes are made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (MOP), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony. Some of these can be engraved or decorated with patterns or images, such as flowers, birds, and other decorative designs.

Some modern domino sets are made of plastic or other polymer materials, and the pips can be painted in a range of colors. They are generally less expensive than the traditional wood or bone sets, and they usually have a more distinctive look and feel.

However, plastic and other polymer dominoes are not as durable or as attractive as wood, and some of the more modern plastic sets can be quite flimsy. For this reason, many people prefer to purchase traditional wooden or bone dominoes rather than plastic or polymer ones.

Another factor in the popularity of dominoes is that they can be played in a wide range of weather conditions, making them a popular choice for outdoor recreation. They are particularly effective at reducing the effects of wind and rain, as long as the surface they are played on is smooth and doesn’t have too much sand or dirt.

The physics of domino toppling are interesting and incredibly simple. When a domino is stood upright, it stores energy, much like a rock or a paper clip. When it is dropped, however, the stored energy is converted into kinetic energy. The force of this change can cause a domino to tip over and knock down other dominoes, creating a chain reaction.