Interesting facts about dominoes

Dominoes are small, flat, rectangular blocks used as gaming object.

They are made of rigid material such as wood, bone, or plastic and are variously referred to as bones, pieces, men, stones, or cards.

Like playing cards, of which they are a variant, dominoes bear identifying marks on one side and are blank or identically patterned on the other side.

Dominoes first appeared in Chinese writings dated back to the Song Dynasty in the 12th century, and it was first designed to represent all the possible roll with a pair of dice.

Taditional dominoes are generally made out of bone or ivory with ebony pips. A set of tiles is divided into two categories of military and civilian, where civilian tiles have duplicates while the military tiles are unique.

The taditional set consists of 28 pieces, marked respectively 6-6 (“double six”), 6-5, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1, 6-0, 5-5, 5-4, 5-3, 5-2, 5-1, 5-0, 4-4, 4-3, 4-2, 4-1, 4-0, 3-3, 3-2, 3-1, 3-0, 2-2, 2-1, 2-0, 1-1, 1-0, 0-0.

The early 18th century saw the “game of domino” surfacing in Europe, appearing first in Italy, before rapidly spreading to Austria, southern Germany and France. From France, the game was introduced to England by the late 1700s, purportedly brought in by French prisoners-of-war.

It appears in American literature by the 1860s and variants soon spring up. In 1889, it was described as having spread worldwide, “but nowhere is it more popular than in the cafés of France and Belgium. From the outset, the European game was different from the Chinese one.

European domino sets contain neither the military-civilian suit distinctions of Chinese dominoes nor the duplicates that went with them. Moreover, according to Dummett, in the Chinese games it is only the identity of the tile that matters – there is no concept of matching.

Inuits (Eskimos, to use an old and incorrect term, for these North American natives) play a game using tiles made from bones that are very similar to Western Dominoes. This game was probably an imitation of Western games rather than a native invention.

Many of the games we associate with dominoes are quite modern. The block games seem to be the oldest of the European games. But Muggins dates from the early 20th century. Many of the games described on these web pages were invented in the last few decades.

Most domino games involve emptying one’s hand while blocking opponents’ play. Scoring games, such as bergen and muggins, determine points by counting the pips (spots on a tile) in the losing players’ hands. Other play formats include blocking games such as matador, chicken foot, and Mexican train. Some domino games duplicate card games—without the possibility of the wind blowing the cards away. And every sort of domino game helps teach kids number recognition and math skills.

The word “domino” is most likely to be derived from the Latin, dominus (i.e. the master of the house). The vocative, domine, became the Scottish and English dominie (i.e. schoolmaster). The dative or ablative, domino, became the French and then the English domino. This word first referred to a type of monastic hood, then to a hooded masquerade costume with a small mask, then to the mask itself, and finally to one of the pieces in the domino set, namely the [1-1] tile.

The most people playing dominoes simultaneously is 3,344 in an event organised by Luis Alberto Ramirez Feliz (Dominican Republic) in Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, Dominican Republic, on 22 January 2012.

On 13 November 2009, Domino Day 2009 saw the world record broken for the most dominoes toppled by a group, when 4,491,863 dominoes were toppled. A total of 89 builders set up the dominoes in the WTC Expo Center in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.

The most dominoes toppled by an individual is 321,197 and was achieved by Liu Yang (China) at Citic Guoan Grand Epoch City in Beijing, China, on 31 December 2011. Liu Yang set up the 321,200 dominoes from 23 November to 31 December 2011. The attempt was part of the New Year’s Eve celebrations aired by Beijing TV station on 31 December 2011.

The highest toppling domino climb was 11.52 m (37 ft 10 in) and was achieved on set of Domino Day 2008 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, on 14 November 2008.

The longest domino wall is 50.65 m (116 ft 2 in), and was achieved by Sinners Domino Entertainment (Germany) in Nidda, Hesse, Germany, on 3 August 2018.

The fastest toppling domino setting achieved an average speed of 7.13 m/s on a 30 m long track on set of Domino Day 2008 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, on 14 November 2008.

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