Dominoes is actually a family of tile based games, also called domino sets, often played with wooden domino sets. Each domino is essentially a square tile with a flat line dividing it into two equally square ends. Each ends is usually marked with several black spots or has just a blank slate. These squares are then piled one atop another until there are twenty-four in all.
Dominoes are played on an open table covered with felt and plastic domino tiles. It is best to have a length of soft fabric or some other lightweight material to sit on, so that the player doesn’t get tired carrying the heavy domino tiles across the table. The actual game play for dominoes is somewhat different from playing the traditional Mahjong game. Dominoes are laid out in what is called a “domino pattern” and game play is more to do with picking up tiles than placement.
In the early eighteen hundreds, there were no dominoes – this was an innovation by the Victorian era. A player would take turns receiving and placing their dominoes, the first player to complete the circuit would win. This has changed to bingo or domino gambling today where players place their dominoes on a single line and a group of dominoes will be numbered in order. Once this circle is completely filled, the game is over and the player is the winner.
A great way to learn and practice domino set game play is to purchase a set of domino sets and arrange them on a table. Lay a large number of domino sets on the table and study the geometric design on each piece. This is a great way to begin to develop counting skills and also become familiar with many different card suit shapes and their properties. Counting can also be developed through a set of domino cards which can provide the opportunity to make the entire collection into a single card.
Another common type of game played using domino sets is muggins. Similar to dominoes, muggins are laid out in a domino pattern and the goal is for the last domino to fall before the other players. The cards used are similar to those used in bingo but there are a few differences. Each player receives ten cards and it is possible for someone to remove more cards than anyone else making the game much more difficult. Muggins are usually played with four players; it is not uncommon to play with five or six players in some games.
Some domino sets have small balls with dominoes on them, these are called “spinner bones”. These dominoes will always have four ends and will rotate around a central board. The idea with the bones is that you have to spin the ball through all of the “spins” in order to gain the points and finish with the bingo card that has the highest number.