Domino is a small rectangular block, about thumbsized, with one face bearing from one to six arrangements of dots that resemble those on dice. A complete set of dominoes has 28 such pieces, sometimes also called stones, bones, tiles, or spinners. Dominoes are usually played as a game, but they can also be used to make intricate patterns on the ground or even 3-D structures such as towers and pyramids. Dominoes are often used to illustrate a concept that is known as the “domino effect,” meaning any action that causes a sequence of events that lead to greater consequences than the original act.
For example, if someone starts to smoke in their car and then another person passes a cigarette out the window, this could cause an accident that leads to more people smoking in cars, or if an earthquake occurs near a nuclear power plant, it may have a domino effect that leads to the failure of the reactor and subsequent disasters. The term is also commonly applied to other types of chain reactions, such as the spread of an infection in a hospital. Infections spread in hospitals are often referred to as a “domino effect,” and this can be caused by anything from poor hygiene to medical professionals forgetting to wash their hands properly with soap.
In the game of domino, each player begins with a set of tiles and then takes turns placing them on the table in long lines. The last domino in each line must be a double (touching both ends) and then the next tile placed must be perpendicular to it. When the player cannot place a new tile, they pass their turn to the opponent.
Once a series of dominoes is started, it can be fun to watch the effect take place. A common method of making a domino pattern is to first lay down a single tile and then place a larger tile on top of it. This will create a shape that can then be filled in with smaller dominoes to make more complicated shapes.
A Domino Design Tool
For those who like to get creative, a domino designer tool allows users to plan out their designs on the computer before they start laying them down. The software is available for free and can be found online. Users can create a track and add arrows to indicate the way they want their dominoes to fall. Designs can be as simple or elaborate as desired – straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when the dominoes fall, or stacked walls of dominoes.
For those who want to try the real thing, a number of sets are available for purchase. Some are made of polymer, while others are made from materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony. Some sets contain both MOP and ivory for a more classic look.