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Moss Vale
Australia

The Vintage Toy Box specialises in unique, fun & funky vintage & retro inspired toys, games and gifts for children (and big kids!) of all ages.

Dominoes

Spotlight On

Dominoes

Saskia Sharp

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The classic game of Dominoes is a strategy game played with a set of rectangular pieces with dot markings between two to four players. The aim of the game is to use all of your pieces to line up the dots on a new piece with the matching dots on the previous piece, making a line.

The word Domino has been around a lot longer than the game. Going back to the 17th century where the French word ‘Domino’ was used to describe a hood worn during winter by priests. It is thought that the French meaning for Domino most likely originated from the even older Latin word ‘Dominus’ which meant Lord or Master. The domino hood is still around today and can often be seen in its traditional form at Masquerade balls.

Fun Fact: The dots on the Domino pieces are called pips, nips or dobs.

It is believed that Dominoes originated in China, although it is also thought that they possibly may have Egyptian or Arabian origins. The oldest written mention of dominoes is recorded in a book written by Zhou Mi during the Yuan Dynasty. Zhou Mi mentions ‘pupai’ (which meant gambling plaques or dominoes) during the reign of Emperor Xiaozong between 1162 and 1189.

Fun Fact: The earliest manual for dominoes was written by Qu You (1341 – 1437) but some believe this to be forgery.

During the 18th Century dominoes began to make an appearance in Italy. It is said that Italian missionaries brought the game back from China and then it spread throughout Europe. The game then changed somewhat in the translation from Chinese to European culture. Traditionally, European dominoes where made from ivory or dark hardwood like ebony, they have also been known to be made of marble, granite, oak, cedar, redwood and metals such as brass.

Fun Fact: a Domino set is called a deck or pack.

In the Netherlands there is an annual domino toppling exhibition called Domino Day. The first Domino Day was held in 1986. Domino Day in 2005 saw an astounding four million dominoes being knocked over by a team from Weijers Domino Productions.

Many domino records have been set over the years, the most popular including:

  • longest domino spiral – 200m

  • highest domino climb – 12m

  • smallest domino tile - 7mm

  • largest domino tile – 4.8m

  • longest domino wall - 16m

  • largest domino structure – 25,000 tiles

  • fastest topple of 30 metres of domino tiles - 4.21 seconds, and

  • largest number of domino tiles resting on a single domino – 1002

Fun Fact: In Berlin on November 9, 2009 giant dominoes where toppled in a 20th anniversary commemoration of the fall of the Berlin wall.

The game of dominoes is said to be one of the oldest games in history. Dominoes is a great family game which involves tactic and strategic game play. We don’t mind where it originated from, whether it came from China, Egypt or Arabia we are just glad it stuck around so long for many, many generations to enjoy!