What is Domino?

A domino is a small, flat, rectangular block used as a gaming object. Also known as bones, pieces, men, or stones, dominoes can be arranged to form lines of play or structures such as towers and pyramids. Each domino has one or more pips (or dots) which indicate its value. A player draws dominoes from a stock to form his hand and, depending on the rules of the particular game, plays them to create a line of dominoes that is then counted or scored. The game of domino has many variants.

Dominos are made from a variety of materials, including wood, clay, and polymer. Some sets feature natural materials, such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, and dark hardwoods like ebony, with contrasting black or white pips. Other set designs are crafted from marble, granite, soapstone, or other stone; metals like pewter and brass; and ceramic clay.

Most dominoes are shaped like rectangles, although a few have curved edges or are square in shape. Most have a number of pips on each end, from one to eight or more. In some games, only certain numbers of pips are allowed, and a domino with more pips is considered to be of higher value.

A common variant is a draw game, in which players take turns drawing tiles from the stock. The player who draws the heaviest tile makes the first play. A tie is broken by drawing new dominoes from the stock, and a player may pass a turn if they cannot play any of the tiles in their hand.

The name Domino comes from the Latin word for “falling.” The domino became popular in the late 18th century and was soon adapted to describe a chain of events. It is believed that the word Domino was derived from an even earlier sense, meaning a long hooded cloak worn by a priest over his surplice during carnival season or at a masquerade.

When a domino falls, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy and pushes on the next domino, and so on until all the dominoes have fallen. This is why it is important to keep a domino in check.

Dominos are usually placed on the table, with the open ends facing up. Each player then draws a tile from the stock and places it on the edge of his dominoes. The player then continues to draw and place tiles until he has his complete hand. The heaviest double or doubles is then played by the player.

Lily Hevesh, who creates some of the most mind-blowing domino installations, uses fractions to help determine how many and what kind of dominoes she needs for a given project. This process helps her avoid a big accidental topple, which can bring the entire installation crashing down. She even omits a few dominoes from her layout to ensure that this doesn’t happen.