Domino, also known as dominoes or aces, is a game played by two or more players. The game consists of laying down tiles (generally called dominoes) in long lines with each tile able to be tipped over, and each tipped domino causing a sequence of events that results in all the other pieces falling over as well. Many variations on the game exist, and the rules of each should be agreed upon by the players before play begins. The game has inspired many figurative applications, most famously the term domino effect, which refers to a situation in which one event leads to another and much greater consequences.
A domino is a small tile marked with an arrangement of dots on one side, and blank or identically patterned on the other. The most popular type of domino set, called a double-six, has 28 unique tiles. Dominos are often made from ivory, bone or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips. They may be carved, painted or molded and cast.
The term domino is believed to have come from the Italian word for a mask, and it was used in both English and French in an earlier sense to describe a long hooded cloak worn together with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade ball. The modern domino piece bears a striking resemblance to the hooded cloak, with its ebony black and ivory coloring, and has been suggested as the inspiration for the name of the game.
Most of the most popular domino games are blocking or scoring games, in which each player plays a tile edge to edge against another such that the adjacent faces match either in number of pips or form some other specified total. In European games, each domino belongs to a suit of numbers (e.g., threes), although the suits differ from those in Chinese domino sets. The number of pips on a domino determines the value of that tile in a given suit.
Generally, the first player to lay all of their tiles wins the game. However, in some games the winner is determined by a target score or by a certain number of rounds. In other games, the winner is the first player to reach a particular number of points. Typically, a single-pip domino counts as one point, while doubles count as either zero or two.
A domino can be a fun and educational way for children to learn counting and sequencing. It is also a great way to develop motor skills. Moreover, dominoes are also great for teaching the concept of domino effects, which is that one action can cause a chain reaction with much greater impacts than any individual act could achieve. This is the concept behind the game of dominoes, and it can be applied to other aspects of life as well. For example, Ivy Lee once taught Charles Schwab how to organize his day by using a simple strategy of ranking the most important tasks so that each receives his full attention and then knocks over all the other priorities in its wake.