Domino is a game of chance in which players place dominoes on the table in a row and then, in turn, place tiles on top of them. The goal is to build a chain that ends with the last tile showing either a number or blank. The player who scores the highest wins the game. There are many different games played with dominoes, and the rules of each are slightly different. Some are competitive, while others are cooperative. Dominoes can be used to create beautiful works of art, from straight lines and curved lines to grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, and 3D structures like towers and pyramids. But they are most popular as a form of relaxation and meditation, often helping people to focus on their breath and calm their minds. The game originated in Italy before spreading to Austria, southern Germany and France. The name “domino” does not appear until the early 18th century, but it rapidly became a fad and was soon adopted in most European countries. Although domino is primarily a scoring game, some people play it just for the fun of connecting the dots and watching the chains build. There are also a number of different strategies for winning the game. For example, some people play with a maximum score of 100 or 200 points and the winner is the player who reaches that goal first. Others play with a set time limit and the winners are the players who have the most points after the specified amount of time has passed. Each domino is a rectangular piece of plastic or clay with a line down the middle to divide it visually into two squares, each having a value displayed by a group of spots or, in some cases, a blank. A domino may also have a smudge or stain on it, which makes it easier to read or distinguish between similar pieces. Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide, making them easy to stack and re-stack after use. In some games a domino has only one open end, and the only way to connect another tile is to place it against that end. Other games have more than one open end and additional tiles may be placed against any of them. Usually, the domino’s long side is considered an open end and additional tiles can only be placed against it, but in some games the short sides of the double are also considered open and additional tiles may be placed to the right or left of the double. The most common method of scoring a domino game is by counting the numbers of the opposing players’ total spots on their remaining tiles. This method can be a little confusing, as the total count of the opposing player’s dominoes can vary depending on how each game is played and whether doubles or blanks are counted (or both). In partnership games the partners who have the lowest combined total of spots are declared winners.