During the 18th century, domino games began to appear in Europe, especially in Italy and France. It is believed that the game was introduced to England by French prisoners of war. Eventually, it spread to southern Germany and Austria.
The game can be played by two or more players and the goal is to be the first player to reach a set number of points. One point is scored for each pips on a tile whose open end is divisible by five or three. Alternatively, players may be awarded one point for each pips on a tile that has all of its open ends pips counted. If a player does not reach the set number of points, he or she must draw from the remaining tiles in his or her hand.
In the game, players take turns turning over two tiles at a time. The first tile played is usually a double-six. The next tile is usually a five-five or a six-six. The fourth tile is usually a four-five or a five-five.
The pips on each domino are marked with an arrangement of spots. In addition, dominos are usually twice as long as they are wide. A tile that has the same number on both ends is called a “stitched up” end. The same number is also considered a “blank” end.
The game is played clockwise. The first player draws the domino that he or she thinks will be the first one to be played. The second player draws the next domino in the set. The third player draws the next domino in the set and so on. If there are more than two tiles in a set, the last player draws a tile from that set. There are also versions of the game in which the players alternately extend the line of play. These games are known as trick taking dominoes.
The game can also be played with a set of bones. The set is usually made of a dark hardwood such as ebony or ivory. The tiles are usually shuffled before play begins. The bones are then shuffled after each hand. If a player is unable to draw a bone, the player will have to shuffle the remaining tiles in his or her hand.
Before the game, the players must agree on a target number of points. If there are more than one player in the game, the target is usually 61. Typically, the player who draws the last domino in the set will be the winner.
Alternatively, there is a concentration variant of the game. With this variant, players must have a total of 12 pips before they can draw a bone. In order to draw a bone, the player must place the tile that has the open end on a position that is perpendicular to the line of the other tiles. If the tile does not add up to 12, the player will have to turn the tile back. If the tile adds up to 12, the player will keep the tile.