How Dominoes Are Organized and Played

A domino is a small, flat, rectangular block used as a gaming object. Also known as bones, men, pieces, or stones, dominoes are made of rigid material such as wood, bone, or plastic and are variously arranged to form straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, walls, or 3-D structures such as towers and pyramids. Like playing cards and dice, they are used in a large number of games with very different rules.

There are many ways to arrange a domino set, and each one can provide a different gaming experience. Some are so complex that they can take several nail-biting minutes to fall, making them a source of fascination for many people.

Some dominoes are engraved with a symbol or word that provides extra information about the game. Others are numbered and color-coded to indicate the value of each side, or rank. Depending on the game, this information may help the player to determine how to play or what move to make.

When dominoes are joined together in a line of play, the matching ends of each tile must be touching fully. This configuration is called the layout, string, or line of play. Usually, when a new tile is played, it must be placed either lengthwise or crosswise of the double that touches it. This allows the chain to develop a snake-line pattern and prevents the dominoes from falling off the edge of the table.

After a hand is finished, the winner of that hand is allowed to draw tiles from the stock according to the rules of the game being played. If a player draws more than he is permitted to have, the tiles should remain face down and may be “bought” later in the game (see “Passing and Byeing” below).

Normally, a domino has two squared ends that are marked with an arrangement of spots, or pips, similar to those on a die, although some have no pips at all. The pips on a domino determine its rank and value, which may be higher or lower than the rank of another piece that has the same number of pips.

Dominoes have a great deal of cultural significance in many societies, serving as a unifying force that transcends linguistic and geographic boundaries. They are a reminder of our innate desire for connection and community.

Domino art is the practice of using dominoes to create drawings, patterns, and other works of art. Some artists are able to create very intricate and beautiful creations by carefully arranging the dominoes into geometric shapes and then using paint, glue, or other substances to draw on top of them. Other artists use the dominoes to build larger structures such as walls and towers. These structures may be used to symbolize strength or power, or they may simply be used for decoration. The beauty of this type of art is that each domino has its own unique appearance, and the work is often made even more interesting by the way in which it is displayed.