A domino is a small rectangular piece, which is used in a number of games. These pieces can be made from a variety of materials, including bone, plastic, or ivory. Some are blank, while others are marked with the number or suit that the tile belongs to. They are generally twice the length of their width.
The origin of the name domino is not known. However, its appearance is credited to the 18th century. Its first recorded appearance was in the Dictionnaire de Trevoux in 1771. In the mid-18th century, the domino game reached England and France. This popular game was later spread to Germany and Austria.
Although the origins of the domino game are not known, they were probably introduced in Europe by French prisoners of war in the late 1700s. The word domino is derived from the French word for “masquerade mask” or long hooded cloak. Many of the early European domino sets were designed to look like the capes worn by priests. Other traditional sets are based on oyster shells or mother-of-pearl.
Some domino sets are quite large. For example, a double-18 set has 190 tiles, while a double-21 set has 253 tiles. Obviously, a set of this size would be too big for most games. Instead, most domino sets are double nine with 55 tiles or double six with 28 tiles.
One of the earliest forms of the domino game was a trick-taking game. A player’s goal was to get a particular number of spots on their domino by chipping the other player’s dominos. If a player was not able to chip, they had to pick a sleeping domino and start over.
Another variant is a rap and knock game. Unlike the usual domino game, this one allows the players to play a tile with a number at one end and then a tile with a number at the other. When a player’s tile lands in the center, they can rap the table or knock the other players’ tiles.
There are many different kinds of domino games, but the most common is a scoring game. Most domino games are based on adaptations of card games. Depending on the rules of the game, the tiles may be laid out in rows, stacked on end, or flipped. Ultimately, the winning players are the ones with the least amount of spots on their tiles.
Dominoes were originally used in the Chinese and Chinese-influenced games of Pai Gow and Che Deng. Unlike Western dominoes, which are blank, the Chinese sets have no pips, and are instead referred to as “dotted cards.” Because of the blank faces, the Chinese version can be played without the need to match.
Dominoes can also be used to study nerve cells. A domino’s pulse is akin to the action of a firing neuron. When a domino falls, its pulse travels at a constant rate, and does not lose its energy as it travels. Therefore, it is not surprising that the smallest change in a domino can create a corresponding change elsewhere.