What is Domino?

Domino is a game in which players lay down domino tiles so that they touch one another. Normally, each tile features one or more of the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 0. A single tile may belong to two suits: it can be part of the suit of threes and also be in the suit of blanks (also called 0’s). There are many different games using domino. Some are blocking games, in which players prevent opponents from playing a piece; others are scoring games, in which points are scored for certain combinations of tiles.

A player’s turn begins when he or she plays a domino from his or her hand. When the domino is played, it triggers a chain reaction called a “domino effect,” in which the pieces on either side of the new piece are drawn down and added to the existing domino chains.

When no one is actively playing a domino, it can be stored in the boneyard, which is the area of the table on which the dominoes are placed. The first player to play all of his or her tiles wins the game. Until then, play continues until the player “chips out” or reaches a point at which no more pieces can be laid.

Traditionally, dominoes have been made of silver-lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony. More recently, dominoes have been molded out of polymer clay or plastic resin, although some sets still use the traditional materials for their more distinctive look and feel.

In the United Kingdom, domino arrived in the late 18th Century from France or possibly via French prisoners of war, and it quickly became popular in inns and taverns. A version of a scoring game called 5s-and-3’s is especially common in these establishments, where the objective is to attach a domino from the hand to the end of a series of already played dominoes such that the sum of all the ends is divisible by five or three. One point is scored for each such combination of two end tiles.

Like the physical domino, a story can have a domino effect on its characters. This occurs when an event or action in the plot causes other events to occur in such a way that they make the character react, and that reaction leads to even more dramatic consequences.

Whether you write your domino scenes off the cuff or with careful consideration, every scene should advance the story, moving the hero closer to or farther from his or her goal. A successful domino effect will keep readers asking, What happens next? This is the purpose of good scene writing.