The Many Uses of Dominoes

Have you ever seen a massive display of dominoes—thousands, even millions of them—lined up in a careful sequence, waiting to fall with just the slightest touch? Perhaps you’ve seen a professional Domino Artist at work, creating intricate designs that take hours to set up. Or perhaps you’ve watched a domino rally, with builders competing to see who can create the most complex and imaginative effects and reactions. Whatever your interest in dominoes, it’s easy to see why they remain so popular.

A domino, also known as a double-six, is a small, flat rectangular block used as a gaming object. It consists of two asymmetrical ends joined by a straight line, with one end bearing the pips of a number and the other end a color-coded “sliding” strip. Each end is typically a different color to distinguish the domino from other types of dice, cards, or other objects. Dominoes have been used for centuries in many parts of the world to play a variety of games. The most common game uses a basic double-six set, in which each player draws seven dominoes from the stock and then extends them by playing matching tiles on either side of the line (the other side’s pip count must be equal to or greater than the domino being played).

There are also a wide variety of other games that utilize dominoes. Some are designed to be more tactical or strategic than others. For example, the Block game for two players requires a double-six set from which each player draws seven tiles. They then alternately extend the line by playing a domino that matches the other player’s hand, and continue until someone wins by playing their last tile or the game is blocked because neither player can match.

Another use of dominoes is in the creation of games based on skill rather than chance, such as solitaire or trick-taking. These are often adaptations of other games and were once popular in some areas to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards. For instance, the asymmetrical ends of a domino enable it to be used in a variation of the card game solitaire. In other games, such as the domino variants of Concentration and Go Fish, the pips on the dominoes are divided into pairs. The highest pair is a match, and the winner is awarded points according to the total number of matching pairs.

In a business setting, dominoes can be used to illustrate the principle of the Domino Effect, which describes how a single action can lead to a chain reaction that results in much larger consequences than the original action. This principle is particularly important in leadership, where it can be used to inspire employees and help them find their path to success. For example, when Domino’s CEO James Doyle saw the need for new company policies, he stuck to his principles and prioritized listening to employee feedback, even when it challenged traditional practices. This led to a new approach to management that emphasizes collaboration and teamwork over strict hierarchy, and helped the company turn its fortunes around in just a few years.