What is a Domino?

A domino is a small, rectangular block used in the game of Dominoes. The sides of each domino have anywhere from 0 to 6 dots. The blocks are matched together, and the first one that is knocked over causes hundreds and sometimes thousands of others to fall in succession. The domino effect is a popular motif in stories because it illustrates how one action, no matter how small, has the potential to affect many more than just itself.

In a story, the domino effect can also help readers understand the logic of a scene. For example, if your hero does something immoral or illegal, it’s logical that his actions will have consequences that reach far beyond what he intended. In addition, the domino effect can help you build tension by making readers wonder how long the chain will last before it collapses.

The earliest known dominoes date to the 14th Century, and were probably brought from China to Europe by merchants. However, they didn’t enter wide use until the late 18th Century, when the game became a favorite in the British pubs and taverns. The game’s popularity spread to other parts of the world.

Today, dominoes are used to play games as well as to create impressive displays. YouTube domino artist Hevesh has more than 2 million subscribers to her channel, and she’s worked on projects involving as many as 300,000 dominoes. She has also set the Guinness Record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement. Some of her creations take several nail-biting minutes to finish falling.

Although the games played with dominoes have a variety of rules, they all share a basic principle. Each domino has a double face; the side that has an arrangement of spots, or pips, is the “identity-bearing” face, and the other side is blank or identically patterned. Each domino has a different number of pips on each half of its face, and the total of those pips determines its value in the game.

There are numerous domino games, but some are more popular than others. For example, the block game uses a set of dominoes with one unique tile for each possible combination of six numbers, and is played by two players. Each player extends the line by adding a matching domino on each end, until the entire row of dominoes is completed. The winner is the player who has completed a full column of dominoes or has the highest remaining pip count in his hand.

Other games use the same concept, but they include other elements, such as the scoring of points or tricks. In a popular version called 42, players draw seven dominoes and try to score points by laying them in “tricks” (ones touching one’s, twos touching two’s, etc.). Players earn points for a trick when it reaches a multiple of five, and the first person to do so wins the hand. These games can be played by individuals or in teams.