Monday, December 08, 2008

Games sans frontieres

Johns Spanish has really improve since he has spent time speaking to Becs partner Joaquin. However sometimes you just do not need words. It is perfectly possible to enjoy a game like dominoes without speaking the same language. The game of dominoes is often played in bars in Spain in much the same way as it is played in pubs in UK.

Although domino tiles are most likely of Chinese inheritance, there is argument over whether the game arrived in Europe in the eighteenth century from China or was in fact,invented independently. European dominoes are shorter than Chinese ones and there is a single tile for each permutation of the throw of two dice or a blank making a total of twenty-eight tiles. This is the standard or "double-six" set and, as in China, various games can be played with it. Double-twelve sets (91 tiles) are popular in America and Double-nine sets (55 tiles) also exist.
The game appears to have arrived in Britain in the late 18th Century from France (it is thought via French prisoners of war)It quickly become popular in inns and taverns at the time. The word "Domino" is French for a black and white hood worn by Christian priests in winter which is probably where the name of the game derives from.
There are no references to them in Western Literature before the middle of the 18th century, when domino games were first played in Italy and France. Later they spread over Europe and to England and America.
Wherever and when ever it came from it is still very much enjoyed here and in UK. There are leagues in Both countries, thought I don't think this pair will be playing in them anytime soon. Still a great way to over come the language barrier.

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