Domino is a game with many variations. The basic set is composed of 28 dominoes with different colored dots (called pips) on their faces, although larger sets exist for games involving several players or those who want to create long chains. Each domino has a line down the middle, visually dividing it into two squares called ends. Each end is marked with a number of spots or pips, and the sum of these numbers gives each domino its value, which is sometimes referred to as its rank or weight.
When you play a domino game, the goal is to build a chain of matching tiles from one end of the table to the other. As each player plays a tile, it touches and “knocks” the other end of the domino chain and then continues to grow. The length of a domino chain depends on the rules of the particular game. Generally, you can only add to a domino chain by playing a domino that matches the rank or weight of an existing tile. This is known as “stitching up” the ends of the chain.
Lily Hevesh started playing with dominoes as a kid, and by age 9, she had a classic 28-piece set. She loved setting them up in a straight or curved line, flicking the first one and watching all of the dominoes fall, one by one. Today, Hevesh is a professional domino artist who has created mind-blowing installations for movies, TV shows, and events, including a Domino’s pizza party for Katy Perry.
While dominoes are often thought of as a game played by children, the premise behind this activity is actually quite complex and has been used to teach social skills and mathematical concepts. A well-designed domino layout can also help develop motor control and spatial awareness.
There are a variety of different games that can be played with domino, but they generally fall into two categories: blocking and scoring. Blocking games involve placing dominoes in strategic positions to prevent other players from proceeding, while scoring games use the accumulated ranking of each player’s dominoes to determine who wins.
Most modern domino sets are made from polymers, although traditional sets can be found in a variety of natural materials such as silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), bone, ivory, or ebony with contrasting black or white pips. Natural-material dominoes are generally considered to be more desirable than polymer sets, but they are typically more expensive.
In the late 1950s, journalist John Alsop wrote an editorial in which he compared America’s decision to offer aid to South Vietnam to the way a falling domino can affect a larger chain of events. The idiom domino effect, as it is now commonly used, describes any situation in which one small trigger may cause a series of events that continue to grow and spread.
While Domino’s is a popular pizza chain, the word domino is actually used to describe other companies and institutions as well. These include: