Dominoes are small, flat blocks that are used in games to create chains of dominos that can be scored by a player. They are also known as bones, men, or pieces. They can be used to play a variety of different games, including scoring or blocking games. They are also sometimes used as puzzles. Some people even use them as a way to teach arithmetic and other mathematical concepts.

Dominos are usually made of plastic, although they can be made from other materials as well. They can be colored, carved, or otherwise embellished. The most common sets contain 28 pieces. They have a rectangular shape, and each has a face that is either blank or marked with an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. The pips on the dominoes are called spots, and they represent different numbers according to the number system of the game being played.

The earliest records of the domino game are from Italy and France in the mid-18th century. By the late 19th century, it had become a popular fad in the United States. It has also been an important part of many other cultures throughout history.

A complete set of dominoes consists of 28 pieces. A domino has a rectangular shape and is usually made of a material such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with a contrasting surface color and inlaid or painted dots. In recent years, dominoes have been manufactured from other natural materials such as marble, soapstone, granite and wood. In addition, they can be produced from a range of other materials such as ceramic clay, glass, and crystal.

In Western domino games, each player plays a tile onto the table, positioning it so that its end touches one of the ends of another tile already on the table. This starts a chain of tiles, which develops a snake-line pattern according to the whims of the players and the limitations of the playing surface. A tile may only be played to a double when the exposed ends match; for example, a single touch of an ace and a six on the same side.

The way the dominoes are positioned and connected is what makes the game so interesting. Some games, such as block or scoring games, require matching the end of one tile with the exposed end of another. Then a score is calculated depending on the values shown on the two exposed ends. Other games involve playing multiple tiles and forming chains of dominoes that can be scored by players based on the number of adjacent pairs of identical ends. There are even games that allow for the manipulation of the shape of the chains by pushing and pulling on them. Some of these are even performed in a live arena. In these shows, professional domino builders build complex domino structures and demonstrate their ability to do so in front of an audience of fans.