Domino is a small rectangular block, generally made of wood or plastic, with a surface marked by dots like those on dice. It is used to play a game in which the player must create a line of dominoes by placing one piece on top of another. The lines may be straight or curved, and the dominoes can also be stacked to form structures such as towers or pyramids. There are many different types of domino games, and each uses a unique set of rules.
The first step in playing a domino game is to draw a hand of tiles. Each domino in the set has a number of spots on each end, from zero to six. Some sets have all possible combinations of these ends, while others have blank or “wild” ends that do not have any spots. A traditional double-six set contains 28 unique pieces.
Once a domino is played, the other players must make their moves in turn. The next player must follow the rules of the specific game to determine which direction to place a tile. If a player draws a tile that is not permitted under the game’s rules, it is called an overdraw and should be returned to the stock before making the next play. In some games, a player is allowed to buy additional tiles from the stock, known as byeing. The number of additional dominoes purchased is added to the score for that player.
As more dominoes are placed, the chain develops a shape called a snake-line that spreads out from one side of the table to the other. A domino placed on a dotted or “wild” end must be perpendicular to the open end of the previous tile, and any subsequent tile played must touch each edge of that piece. Exceptions to this rule are a double and a triple, which must be played square across each other to connect the ends of the chain.
The last domino in the chain is called a “spinner.” This domino can be played on all four sides, and it can start a chain reaction that causes more and more dominoes to fall. A spinner is considered a key piece in a game because it can add to the overall score of the winning player.
In addition to the standard polymer dominoes, other materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory and ebony have been used for more elegant sets. These are more expensive than their polymer counterparts, but they are a good choice for collectors who prefer the look of a wooden set and the feel of weighted tiles. The most luxurious dominoes are made from precious metals, such as gold or silver, and have a more intricate design. Some manufacturers offer customized designs, such as a custom logo or a special pattern of spots on the ends of the dominoes. These are often engraved or painted onto the pieces.