## A Beginner’s Guide to Dominoes

Dominoes are cousins of playing cards and, like them, allow a wide variety of games to be played. Lily Hevesh, 20, started collecting dominoes at age 9 and now makes a living as a professional domino artist, creating intricate setups for movies, TV shows and events, as well as posting videos of her own creations on YouTube. Dominoes, also known as bones or cards, are a type of modular game system, with square or rectangular tiles with one or more faces marked with numbers. The value of each side is determined by the number of dots or “pips” it contains, with a blank face being valued at zero. A domino is normally twice as long as it is wide, allowing the ends to be used in connecting chains. A dominanto is played by placing it on a table, positioning the exposed end so that it touches one of the ends of a connected chain of dominoes. The player then takes turns placing tiles onto the table, ideally positioning them so that they connect with the domino chains that already exist. When a player has exhausted their hand and cannot play a tile, they “knock” or rap the table, passing play to the other players. The players who have the lowest combined sum of pips on their remaining dominoes are the winners. Although the word “domino” may sound intimidating, domino is a very simple game to learn. Its complexity grows as the number of dominoes increases, but the basic concept is easy to understand. Generally, each domino has a value of zero to five based on the number of pips it contains. If a domino has a value of three or more, it must be matched with a domino with the same number of pips on each side. Otherwise, the game would not progress. While a domino chain can be completed with just two pieces, most players use more than two to compete for victory. The earliest known domino set was produced in China around 1120 CE. A Chinese text, the Chu szyam (Investigations on the Traditions of All Things) says that dominoes were invented by a statesman who presented them to Emperor Hui Tsung. Unlike Western dominoes, which have only a single number on each side, the pips on Chinese dominoes represent the result of throwing two six-sided dice. The earliest Chinese dominoes were also longer than the 28-piece European sets that became popular in the mid-18th century. Dominoes can be made from a variety of natural materials, including bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony. They are usually inlaid or painted, and may have a contrasting color or material on the back of the tiles. In addition to being a fun and challenging game, domino is a great educational tool, teaching the basics of counting and the properties of shapes. It can also help develop coordination, dexterity and spatial awareness. Those who are interested in advancing their dominoes skills can join a domino club, which is open to people of all ages and skill levels. The clubs offer tournaments and other opportunities for domino enthusiasts to grow their knowledge of the game.