Dominoes are small rectangular blocks used to play the game called dominoes. The sides of each block feature anywhere from 0 to 6 dots. When the first domino is knocked over, it causes the rest of the dominoes to fall, one by one. People often stand up dominoes to create elaborate patterns that look pretty impressive. In some cases, knocking down the first domino can cause hundreds or even thousands of others to fall, which is called the Domino Effect.
The word dominoes is derived from the Latin verb “dominium” meaning “to dominate.” It has been in use since the 12th or 13th century, and its first known use was in a mathematical context to denote an arrangement of figures, like those on a die. In the modern sense, the word is most closely related to the Italian domanda, or “dominion,” which means power over someone or something.
There are many different ways to play domino, but the most popular forms of gameplay tend to fall into two categories: blocking games and scoring games. Blocking games involve putting down tiles to block other players from taking their turns, and scoring games reward points based on the number of pips on opposing player’s tiles.
The most common types of domino sets commercially available are double six (28 tiles) and double nine (55 tiles). Larger sets exist for larger groups or for players looking to play long domino chains.
Regardless of the rules of a particular game, all dominoes have certain common characteristics. They are typically twice as long as they are wide, which makes it easier to stack them together after use. They also feature a line in the middle that divides them visually into two squares, called ends. Each end has a value, determined by the arrangement of spots or pips, and blanks may be present as well.
Each domino is numbered on the face and has a unique color to distinguish it from other dominoes. Normally, each domino has a number of pips on one side, and a blank or void on the other, but there are variants that include only a single pips or no pips at all.
Most games are won when a player is “out” of tiles, which means they cannot take another turn until someone else plays a tile that matches the one they have on the table. Depending on the game, this can be accomplished by drawing lots or by determining who holds the heaviest hand.
When the first domino is played, most of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. This kinetic energy travels to the next domino in the chain, which then provides the push needed to knock it over as well. The chain continues causing dominoes to fall until the last one is displaced. Similarly, writers often use the Domino Effect in their writing to guide them through the process of creating an exciting plot. Whether the writer composes the manuscript off the cuff or follows a detailed outline, analyzing the impact of each action on what happens later can help to make the story more interesting and engaging for readers.