Where Did the Dominos game originate

Where Did the Dominos game originate

Posted by Jean Guzman on

After doing some research, dominos originated in . . . China. That’s right- no surprise there, as China has history that traces back many dynasties. Exactly how the dominos game made it to Europe is unknown. There is a difference between the Chinese dominos set and the European/Caribbean set. Dominos from China have 32 tiles compared to the European/ Caribbean version with 28 tiles in a set.

When Europeans “discovered” the Americas, the first place they landed was on an island.  There are different stories as to the exact whereabouts, but there is no doubt that it was in the Caribbean.  Christopher Columbus’ voyage was originally set for China when he landed on an island, so although the connection of dominos making it from China to the Caribbean is unknown, there is a connection as to how far back dominos might have been introduced to the islands.

Why is the dominos game so popular in the Caribbean?

The islands of Bahamas, Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti & Dominican Republic), Jamaica & Puerto Rico love playing dominos.  It is custom to see players (mostly men) concentrated on figuring out whether “pasó con ficha” to skip, “capicúa” domino piece can be used on either side of the layout or “trancado” the game is locked and can’t proceedOf course, there are different rules for playing dominos in accordance with the country.  Cubans play differently from Jamaicans who play differently from Dominicans, etc.  What is undeniably the same is the calculation of counting the numbers on the tiles, all while passing the time and joking during a game that has more cleverness than people think.  There is a mutual respect amongst dominos players, as it is mostly played between two teams, and each team has two players.

There are special tables made to play dominos with grooved edges to fit each player's domino tiles.  Of course, design and price vary according to the material used and how intricate the design.  Domino tiles are made of different materials including plastic, metals, stone, and wood.  Sturdy domino tiles can last a lifetime and survive hundreds of “capicúa” slams on a table. 

Playing dominos is an inexpensive pastime that celebrates comradery and calculated moves.  Warm Caribbean weather allows for people to play outside in the evening when the sun is more forgiving.  In different places around the world, specifically the northeast of the US, we see domino games being played in the streets as soon as the weather is bearable to play outside.  There’s no question people are playing dominos all year round, except that it’s indoors.  Even though you don’t see people playing dominos inside during colder weather, you will definitely hear your neighbors playing.

What is the domino effect?

The domino game is so popular, the term domino effect exists.  The domino effect is when one occurrence or thing affects the total outcome.  Just like the game, a single move in life affects everything else. 

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