How Dominoes Are Played

A domino is a small, flat rectangular block, usually made of wood or plastic, with one to six pips (or dots) on each side: 28 such pieces form a complete set. The pips may be blank, colored, or painted with symbols or numerals. Various games can be played with these pieces, which are often arranged in lines and angular patterns on a table or other surface.

Dominoes are sometimes used for educational purposes to help students learn number recognition and counting. They are also popular as party favors, as they are easy to carry and can be easily stored in bags or boxes. There are many different games that can be played with a domino set, including blocking and scoring games. Many of these games are adaptations of card or dice games, and were originally developed in order to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards.

In some domino games, a player must match the ends of two tiles to create a chain; matching is accomplished by placing one tile on top of another, either touching a matching end or overlapping it by a specified amount. This allows the chain to grow as more and more matching tiles are laid down. When a player plays a tile that shows a number at both ends of the piece, this is called stitching up the ends, and the chain becomes longer as more tiles are added.

Many domino players like to construct elaborate chains of overlapping and matching dominoes, which are called domino art. This can be a very time-consuming activity, as each domino has to be carefully positioned so that its center of gravity lies exactly on the edge of the next domino. Depending on the length of the dominoes, this can be very difficult to accomplish, and large chains are usually constructed for demonstration or competition purposes.

There are even competitions that focus on the speed and accuracy with which a person can place a sequence of dominoes. The world champion of this sport has a reputation for being able to set up a sequence of dominoes in a very short period of time.

The most impressive domino constructions demonstrate a concept known as the domino effect. The tiny nudges that initially push the first domino into position are amplified by the high center of gravity and weight of each subsequent domino. This amplification is what makes the chain fall in a spectacular and synchronized fashion, as all the dominoes are forced to fall.

When applied to writing, the idea of the domino effect is that small victories have a dramatic impact. Just as the slightest nudge of a domino can cascade into a rhythmic chain, small victories early in the day can dramatically increase the odds that a writer will be more motivated and enthusiastic. These small victories are known as domino actions because they act like a domino effect: one action triggers a series of other actions. Using this idea in novel writing can help writers to develop the kind of compelling story that can capture readers.