Domino Basics

A domino is a flat, thumbsized block of material such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or ebony. It has two parts, each bearing from one to six pips or dots. Twenty-eight such pieces constitute a complete set of dominoes. A domino is used to play a variety of games, most involving positioning other dominoes edge to edge against them in a line or angular pattern. The resulting chain of falling tiles is called a Domino Chain or, when playing a positional game, a Domino Layout.

The term is also applied to the various games played with dominoes, including scoring and blocking games. Many of these games involve awarding points to a player by counting the number of matching ends on his or her dominoes, with doubles counted as one or two depending on the rules. A player with the highest score at the end of a game wins.

Before a game starts, the dominoes are usually shuffled so that each player cannot see what other players have in their hands. This collection of shuffled dominoes is known as the Domino Yard or Boneyard. Players then draw a certain number of dominoes from the boneyard and place them on their table, being careful not to touch any other players’ tiles. The first player to place a domino may be determined by drawing of lots, or by the player with the highest number of dominoes in his or her hand.

Domino Art

Artists use dominoes to create mind-blowing artwork, from straight lines and curved zigzags to grids that form pictures when they fall, to 3D structures like towers and pyramids. Some artists create their domino art by laying out a plan on paper or cardboard, then sketching or painting the corresponding layout of dominoes. Others build their designs piece by piece, starting with a single domino and working their way outwards, connecting each domino to the next in a logical sequence.

As each domino falls, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy that pushes the next domino over. This energy travels to the next domino and the process repeats itself over and over, until all of the dominoes have fallen. This is why it is important to be aware of the consequences of each action when creating a domino art installation.

Domino Effect

When writing fiction, whether a short story or an epic novel, plotting is all about reaction and reaction, the Domino Effect. Each new event triggers a series of events, each impacting the next in a logical sequence that ultimately leads to the climax of the story.

The word domino is derived from the Latin dominus, meaning “lord,” though its ties to the ancient blocking game suggest that it also encourages caution. Whatever the reason, Domino is a powerful name for any man or woman who appreciates the gravity of each action and moves with a sense of purpose.