Domino is a tile game where players stack dominoes on end in long lines. When one domino is tipped over, it causes the next domino in line to tip over, and so on. As the dominoes continue to fall, they can form complex designs that are sometimes incredibly elaborate. Domino is also used as a metaphor for chain reactions, such as those that occur in the stock market or in global politics.
The name Domino comes from the fact that a single domino can cause many more to fall than would otherwise be the case. Dominoes are made from wood or other materials such as marble, and can be painted or engraved with numbers or other characters. They are typically a rectangular shape, although they can also be square or triangular. They are marked with a pattern of dots, called pips, on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. The pips are used to identify each domino, although the number on each side may be represented by different patterns of spots.
There are numerous games played with dominoes, and the rules vary slightly. Some games are purely competitive, and the winner is awarded points according to the number of pips on opposing player’s tiles. Other games are cooperative, and a team or person wins when the group reaches a predetermined score. In some cooperative games, a domino is worth one point, while in others, it is valued as two. Doubles are often referred to as doublets, and some have two dots on both ends while others have one dot on each end.
In addition to a wide variety of games, domino can be used in other activities such as etching or stamping. They can also be used to create a mosaic or in the creation of sculptures. For example, artist Hevesh has created some enormous domino art pieces that can take several nail-biting minutes to fully fall. Hevesh credits physics for this phenomenon: “When you set up a domino, it has potential energy based on its position.” As the domino falls, much of that energy is converted into kinetic energy and sends the whole row crashing down, setting off more dominoes in a cascade.
When playing a domino game, the tiles are usually shuffled before play begins. This is done either by drawing lots or by the determination of who holds the heaviest domino in his hand. The first player then places a domino (typically a double-six) on the table. This opens the ends of the layout to additional tiles, and it is then possible to score points by placing dominoes whose exposed ends match (one’s touching the other’s, or two’s touch one’s).