Dominoes are flat, thumb-sized rectangular blocks with one face divided into two parts, each bearing from one to six pips or dots. There are many different games that can be played with dominoes. Most of them involve matching the ends of dominoes and laying them down in lines and angular patterns. A player scores a point when the count of the ends of a line of play is either identical or forms some specified number. The basic rules of most domino games are similar across the world, but variations in game rules may exist. The word “domino” also refers to a long hooded cloak worn together with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade.
The domino effect, a well-known example of the phenomenon, is the idea that once one small trigger causes a series of events, it can be difficult to stop the chain reaction. The term is also used to describe any scenario in which one action leads to a succession of events, from a fire to an international crisis. The idiom is often used in political contexts, but it can be applied to any situation in which a single event initiates a larger cascade.
As the first domino falls, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, the energy of motion. This energy is transmitted to the next domino, providing the push that knocks it over. This energy travels down the line of dominoes until the last one falls. The process resembles the way a nerve impulse travels down a neuron.
Whether you’re an amateur woodworker or a master builder, creating your own domino set is a great way to express yourself creatively. You can make curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall or even 3D structures like towers and pyramids. The possibilities are endless, but to start you can consider the type of track you want to build and determine how many pieces of domino you’ll need for your design.
A good place to begin designing a domino setup is with a sketch on paper. Then, you can figure out how to arrange the dominoes to create your track and draw arrows to show the direction of the flow of energy. Once you have a rough sketch, you can calculate how many pieces of domino you’ll have to build your track and begin the assembly process.
After each player draws a hand of tiles, the first player begins play in accordance with the rules of the specific game being played. In most cases, the player holding the highest double tile (see Heaviest Tile below) starts play. If no players hold a double, the winner of the previous game plays first.
Each player then places his or her hand of tiles on the table in front of him, positioned so that each of the open ends of the domino touches one of the pips of an adjacent domino. The resulting line of play, which increases in length as each domino is played, forms the basis for the rules that govern the game. The basic instructions for most of the games shown on this website can be found under Line of Play.