dominoes, game played with a set of rectangular pieces (usually 28 in number) called dominoes. Each piece (made of wood, bone, ivory, plastic, or other material) has one blank face and one face marked with pips, or dots. The marked faces are divided into halves, each half containing (in a 28-piece set) from 0 to 6 pips in every possible combination—0–0, 1–1, 1–0, and so on. The most common version of dominoes is the draw game wherein two to four players pick a specified number of face-down dominoes. The object of the game is to match the number on one domino half to that of the half already played on the table. The first to dispose of all his or her dominoes wins. The game has been traced as far back as 18th cent. Italy where it enjoyed great popularity among the idle courtiers of Venice.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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History of Dominoes Fun Fact

Modern dominoes has its roots in 13th century China, where it was mentioned in Song dynasty-era text Former Events in Wulin. Its earliest European appearance was in 18th century Italy. Play a digital version of dominoes at our sister site, Cool Math Games.