What is Domino?

A small rectangular wood or plastic block, the face of which is divided into halves, each half being blank or marked by dots resembling those on dice. A domino set consists of these blocks in various arrangements, with some having multiple sides. The word is also used for a game played with the blocks, a form of tabletop chess.

Dominoes are the key to many games, including those that involve blocking or scoring. Most domino games are played with a double-6 set of tiles, although larger sets (double-9, double-12 and double-15) allow more players to play at one time.

In a game of domino, players take turns picking a domino from the stock until someone has an opening double. The player who has the highest opening double then plays it. This is repeated until the entire hand is played.

Most domino games have rules that specify the values of the pips on each tile. These are called suit and value combinations. For example, a domino with the value of 6-5 may be connected to another domino by its long side or by its short side, but not by its blank side. The values of a particular domino are important for understanding how to match up dominoes and form domino chains.

Traditionally, dominoes were made of ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with black or white pips inlaid in them. More recently, sets have been produced from other natural materials, such as marble, granite and soapstone; metals like brass and pewter; or ceramic clay. These sets often have a more elegant look, and their heavier weight gives them more of a feel than modern polymer dominoes.

Domino art ranges from simple lines and grids that form pictures when they fall, to stacked towers and pyramids. Many people find it therapeutic to create these designs, which can be quite meditative. For example, a person who is suffering from anxiety or depression may find that domino constructions help them calm down.

The game of domino has been used for many purposes, from settling disputes in rural England in the 19th century to introducing a younger generation to arithmetic and algebra. It is a popular party game for children and adults.

A domino was once also the name for a hooded robe worn together with an eye mask at a masquerade or carnival celebration. Its origin is obscure, but the link to the game may be because of the similarity in shape between the domino and the hooded robe.

In fiction, the domino effect is the way a character’s actions cause other events to occur. This can be a very powerful tool for creating suspense and building tension in a scene, but it’s important that the writer knows how to use this technique well. The domino effect can be overdone if the scene feels long and drawn out, or underdone if it moves too fast and is not properly spaced. The writer should know how to pace the scene to make it a true build-up to a major plot point.