## The Game of Domino

Domino is a popular game in which players take turns placing tiles on the table and positioning them so that they touch one end of an already existing chain. When the last domino in this chain falls, it triggers a sequence of events that causes a chain reaction of other dominoes, and so on. This concept can be applied to a story in which a single scene is like a domino that sets the stage for what’s to come and, when played well, creates a satisfying narrative structure.

Each domino has a number or symbol on each face that shows its value, which are usually dots called pips. The other face of a domino is blank or identically patterned. There are several variants of the game, some involving more than one player, and rules vary from place to place. For example, the game may require that a player set a specific number of tiles down before he makes his first play, and the rules of some games prohibit the use of certain types of tiles such as doubles.

The word domino is also used in a number of other ways to indicate a sequence or a plan that takes effect, such as an order of business or an order of magnitude that will result in something. In writing, the phrase domino effect is used to refer to a particular narrative technique that allows a single event to cause an entire sequence to shift, and it can be useful in helping to identify plot holes.

Dominoes are usually twice as long as they are wide, which allows them to be easily stacked and stored. They are often arranged in a line, and players can draw from the stock of remaining tiles to make their plays. The player who draws the heaviest tile, or “the lead,” makes the first play of the game. In some cases, a player may decide to use the tiles in his hand before drawing from the stock.

After the dominoes have been shuffled, each player draws the number of tiles that are permitted under the rules of a given game, adding them to the ones he has in his hand. A tile that is not a double can be played only on one side and cannot connect to another domino, but if it is a spinner, it can be played on all four sides.

In many games, the lines of play are marked on the table with tiles that match the pips on their open ends. The resulting lines of play are then developed into snake-like shapes according to the rules of each game. Generally, a tile must be played to the same side as the previous tile or to a double if available, and a double must be placed diagonally to a square tile or perpendicular to a rectangular tile.

The beauty of a chain reaction of dominoes is that it can be quite spectacular. This is why domino shows are popular, with builders competing to see who can construct the most elaborate and imaginative domino effects or reactions before a live audience. A single domino isn’t much fun to tip over, but when hundreds or thousands of them are lined up in careful sequence, they can all fall with the slightest nudge.