Domino is a game of skill and strategy in which players place dominoes edge to edge so that the exposed ends of one domino match those of another. The first player to play a matching pair of tiles wins the hand. Typical dominoes are made of plastic or cardboard, although sets can be found in other materials such as stone (eg, marble and granite); woods including acacia and ebony; metals such as brass or pewter; ceramic clay; and other exotic materials such as silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell and ivory.
The domino is normally twice as long as it is wide, which makes it easy to stack a large number of them in a tight space. The top of a domino is usually engraved with either a single or double row of dots or blanks, which are called pips. Each pips have a value of one or more spots, called points, ranging from six pips to no pips at all, and the sum of the pips on both sides of a domino is its rank, or weight.
Before a game or hand of domino begins, all the dominoes are shuffled and then arranged in front of each player. Each player draws a set of dominoes in turn, taking care to draw a double-six when possible. These dominoes are then placed on the table with their matched pairs touching, forming a chain of dominoes that grows in length as the dominoes are played. The player who plays the first tile, or who is deemed to hold the heaviest dominoes by drawing lots or by some other means, then places the first piece on the chain.
Each subsequent tile placed must be matched with a previous tile, preferably one that has a value of more than one point. Depending on the game, the next tile can be placed square to the preceding one if its matching ends are adjacent, or perpendicular if it is a double. A chain may also be interrupted by a piece placed with its matching ends overlapping, which is often called stitching the ends.
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