Dominoes (pronounced /dmn/) are a type of game in which players attempt to build lines of tiles by adding matching pieces from their hands. This game is usually played with a set of 28 tiles called dominoes, but larger sets are available for games involving multiple players or longer play periods.
There are many variants of the basic domino game. The most common are layout games, which are essentially blocking games in which one player attempts to empty their hand of all their matching tiles, and scoring games, which score points by creating certain configurations during the game. Some other games draw inspiration from dominoes, such as Sevens and Pope Joan.
In traditional domino sets, each piece has a number of spots or pips on its ends, ranging from six pips down to none or blank. The number of spots on a tile is referred to as its value, which may be described as “heavy” or “light.”
When players start a game of domino, they shuffle the stock or boneyard of tiles face down. Each player then draws seven tiles from this stock. These are then placed on-edge in front of each player so that they can see their own tiles, but not the value of their opponents’ tiles.
Each player then attempts to place a domino onto the table, positioning it so that it touches either one or both ends of the chain. If the player is able to place a domino which has a number showing at both ends, they are said to have “stitched up” the ends of the chain.
Once all the players have arranged their dominoes, they then begin to play a line of dominoes. The first player (determined by the drawing of lots, or by who holds the heaviest hand) places the first tile on the table. The player then moves his tile to the next end of the chain, and repeats the process. The game continues this way until the last player chips out or reaches a point at which no more tiles can be played.
The player with the lowest value of spots on their dominoes wins. The game can also be played in a scoring version where players try to attach a domino from their hand to one end of the chain so that the sum of the tiles at that end is divisible by five or three.
There is also a family of games in which the goal is to place tiles in order, thereby increasing their values. These include the block game, which is a form of dominoes; and 5s-and-3s, which combines pairs of tiles with spinners and is played with multicolored tiles.
Some people like to stack dominoes on end in long lines, and then knock them down. This can produce very intricate designs, although it can be dangerous and sometimes disastrous if done in the wrong way.
In medical care, the domino effect is a common term for the situation where one patient is given a simple treatment, but the patient leaves with a more severe infection or even a life-threatening illness. This can be a problem for patients and doctors alike.