# Variations of Dominoes

Dominoes are a type of tile-based game. They are similar to playing cards and dice, although they differ in some aspects. The identity-bearing face of a domino is divided by a line into two squares; each square has an arrangement of spots or “pips,” similar to those on a die, but some of the squares are blank (indicated in the listing below by a zero).

Players use their tiles to form pairs with other tiles in the same suit. With double-six dominoes, pairs consist of any two tiles whose pips sum to 12. For example, the 3-5 and the 0-4 form a pair. In some variants, a pair may be formed by any two tiles that have opposite pips.

A player’s strategy is to try to maximize the number of pairs in his or her hand. This can be done by making sure to always have a tile in each hand of each color. Some variations of the game require that a player have a set of five or more different colors.

The most basic domino variant, the block-and-draw game, is played with 28 dominoes. These are shuffled face down and formed into a stock, or boneyard, before the players draw from the stock.

In this game, the player who has the highest total of pips wins. In the United States, a stock or boneyard is used; in some countries, the stock is simply a box of tiles that the players can draw from.

Most Western domino variants involve a block-and-draw format; they are usually played with two to four players. Each player draws from a set of tiles, typically seven. The first tile drawn is the lead, or the domino that has the largest number of pips.

During the course of the game, one player’s pips are added to the others until no more pips can be added. The leader’s turn is usually taken when a tile has a matching pair; this can also be done during a draw, or when all of the tiles have been drawn.

While some of the traditional games of dominoes are still played, newer ones have become increasingly popular. Some of these include a variant called Five-Up, which uses multicolored tiles.

There are also games that feature curved tiles, such as Matador and Bendomino, which have more complex rules for matching. Some of these games have spinners, which can cause the line of play to branch.

These spinners can be shaped like a wheel, an apple, or a house. They may be able to be moved in any direction, and sometimes they can even be placed on all sides of the line of play.

Another domino game, known as Three-Up, is played with a single color; the goal is to get three sets of identical tiles. This variant is played with a set of nine or 12 dominoes.

While the origin of dominoes is unclear, they are believed to be derived from the Chinese version of dice. The earliest Chinese dominoes had no blank faces and represented all possible throws with two dice.