Domino is a board game and a family of games played with a series of domino pieces, each marked with one or more dots. In some games, the players compete to score the most points by claiming all of the opposing player’s tiles; in others, the player who achieves a target number of rounds wins the game. Many domino games encourage a high level of concentration and dexterity, making them an ideal brain-teaser for children as well as adults.
The word domino appears in English in the mid-18th century, and both the game and the word have had several meanings. It may be related to the French term domanda, which in turn derives from a garment worn with a mask at carnival season or at a masquerade. The earliest sense of the word was as a long, hooded cloak, and it is possible that domino pieces – which were once made with ebony blacks and ivory faces – were designed to resemble this garment.
Most Western domino games involve blocking opponents’ play and scoring by counting the number of pips (spots) on the losing player’s tiles. Some of these games also involve forming chains and other structures, such as a cross, with the dominoes. In most cases, the game ends when a single domino cannot be placed because its two matching ends are not adjacent. The way the dominoes are positioned on the table contributes to the game’s complexity and provides part of its entertainment.
Similarly, when we create our stories, the scenes that cascade together can be like a domino effect, but we must make sure they are not out of sync with each other and have enough tension. For example, if you write a scene that’s too long and doesn’t have the proper impact on the story’s plot, it can take away from its overall power.
When a domino falls, its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, giving the next domino the push it needs to fall. This energy is transmitted from domino to domino, and if it’s strong enough, all the remaining ones will tumble in a beautiful and rhythmic sequence.
The most basic domino game requires a standard 28-piece double-six set. These are shuffled and placed face down in a pile, usually called the boneyard or stock. Each player draws at random the number of dominoes required for the game, typically seven. The player who plays first must then place a domino onto the table, positioning it so that its matching end is adjacent to the other.
The initial domino that is played must always be a double. Whenever another domino is played to this double, its open end must be adjacent to the matching end of the initial tile, and it must form a complete cross. The pattern of these crosses determines the shape that develops as the domino chain grows. Players can also choose to take sleeping dominoes from the boneyard as they play.