# The Basics of Dominoes

Dominoes are small, flat blocks used as gaming objects. They are sometimes known as bones, pieces, men, or stones and are usually made of a rigid material such as wood or bone. A domino has two matching ends and can be a single color, or it may have alternating colors. It can also have a picture or pattern on both sides. Dominoes are played on a board with square or rectangular spaces. Some boards are specially designed for playing dominoes and have raised areas or obstacles.

The word domino was coined around 1750, but the game itself was probably developed earlier. Several games have been named after the domino, and a plethora of variations exist. Dominoes are used in a variety of ways, including as a counting and calculation tool, for artistic purposes, or simply for entertainment. They are arranged in chains or patterns that form shapes, such as squares, circles, and arches.

Unlike most other types of toys, dominoes are often considered to be educational, with the potential for developing motor skills and basic math skills. They can also help develop a sense of balance and proportion. Many people enjoy the challenge of trying to build a long chain of dominoes before it topples. This is called the Domino Effect, and it can be an incredibly satisfying accomplishment.

While dominoes are most often used for playing positional games, they can also be arranged in other formations to create shapes or to make a particular design. In addition, a variety of other rules are used to determine how the tiles are placed. For example, the rules for some games require that a tile be placed so that the two matching ends are adjacent or touching fully. Other games require that a tile be played to a double.

When a player draws more than the number of dominoes required for his hand, this is known as an overdraw. This is an important rule, because if an overdraw is discovered before the next player plays, it can prevent the next player from making his turn. The player drawing the extra tiles must return them to the stock before any other players draw their hands.

In order to play a game of domino, the player must first decide how to establish his seating arrangement. The most common method is to draw lots. The winner of the draw will open play in the next round. Other methods for establishing the order of play include using the heaviest tile, and following the winners of previous rounds.

The rules for a domino game vary by type, but all have one thing in common: the order of play is determined by the way the tiles are drawn. A single-player game might be played with a double-twelve (91 tiles) or a double-nine set (55 tiles). The number of tiles a player must take at the start varies according to the game’s rules and his seating arrangement.

A domino is a game of chance, but it’s possible to improve your chances by learning the rules and practicing regularly. You can also improve your skill by working on your concentration and attention to detail. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts when you see your dominoes fall in a beautiful cascade.