Dominoes are small blocks of wood or plastic, with one face bearing an arrangement of dots that resemble those on dice. The other face is blank or marked only with an identifying mark, such as a line or a ridge. They are usually twice as long as they are wide, making them easier to stack and re-stack after use.
A domino may be used to play a variety of games, including bidding games, blocking games, scoring games, and round games. A player’s choice of which game to start is based on several factors, including the number of points required to win the game, the value of the pieces, and whether the rules allow players to “score” during the course of a game.
The terms set, down, and lead are used to designate the domino that is played first in a game of domino. The term heaviest tile refers to the domino that has the highest number of pips when placed end to end with another domino. If the heaviest domino is not a double, it is called an open end. The player who holds the heaviest tile begins play and continues to draw tiles until he has a hand that meets the requirements of the game being played.
During the game, players draw and place their dominoes in a line of play that is referred to as the line of play or layout. As each player places a domino, the dominoes are joined edge to edge to form a chain. Usually the domino chain develops into a snake-line shape that grows or contracts depending on the players’ whims and the limitations of the playing surface.
When a player draws more dominoes than he is entitled to, this is referred to as an overdraw. The dominoes that are overdrawn must be discarded without being examined by any other players and returned to the stock. The next player then takes the hand that is opened by the overdrawn dominoes.
If a domino is not played in turn or in the proper order, it is referred to as a misplay. This is considered a serious fault and can result in the loss of a game. If a player discovers he has made a misplay before the next play is made, he must correct the mistake.
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