What is Domino?

Domino is a game where players take turns placing domino tiles edge to edge so that the adjacent ends match up or form some specified total. The resulting chain of dominoes may be laid out in a flat arrangement, snake-lined across the table, or formed into a three-dimensional structure that is more elaborate than just a line of tiles. The first player to play all of their tiles wins.

Domino games have been played for centuries. The game arrived in Britain in the late 18th Century (possibly via French prisoners of war) and soon became a popular amusement in public houses and inns. The name is thought to be derived from the Latin “domino”, meaning “hood”, possibly because of the way that the domino tiles were held together before playing.

A large number of different domino games have been devised, ranging from simple block and scoring games to complex tactical and strategy games. It is usual for a number of players to participate in domino games, usually two or more, although it is possible to play with just one person. In general, more people can be involved in a domino game if a larger set of dominoes is used, for example, by using a double-nine or double-twelve set (91 or 55 tiles).

Each player takes a hand of seven dominoes at the start of a domino game, although it is usual to reshuffle and draw an additional set of dominoes once all players have completed their first hand. Most games involve laying down dominoes in a line, or in a circle, with each player taking their turn to place a domino in a given spot. If the domino placed is a double, it must be played to a tile with matching pips. The simplest way to do this is to place the new domino next to the existing tiles, but it is possible to make more precise arrangements that allow a domino to be played with a specific alignment of pips on the edges of the two pieces (see domino positioning).

As the domino chains develop, they often assume a natural form, with a central point and a snake-line. This is especially true if the dominoes are placed with care so that the gaps between each tile are small and tight. In some domino formations, it is also common to use a “drop-down” system whereby a new domino is dropped onto a gap between two existing dominoes to complete a sequence of chains in the required shape.

Dominoes are an interesting toy because each domino only has value once it is tipped over, but once it falls the effect can be spectacular, causing a series of other dominoes to fall in a cascade of rhythmic motion. This idea of a domino effect can be useful in plotting novels and other writing. In this article we will consider how the domino effect can be used in storytelling to build a narrative.