You have probably seen those awe-inspiring videos of long lines of dominoes all toppling with the nudge of just one. Dominoes are so versatile that they can be used to show off impressive building skills or to create a giant art piece, and they can even be arranged to spell out words, numbers, or other symbols. Dominoes are a reminder of how small the impact of a single action can be. In our work as book editors, we use the domino analogy to help clients understand how important it is for their scenes to have a strong impact on the scene ahead of them. If a scene isn’t adding tension or driving the plot forward, it isn’t doing its job. If you’re a “pantser” (that is, you don’t make detailed outline of your story ahead of time) and you write scenes that don’t have enough impact on the scene before them, you’re missing a big opportunity to strengthen the overall narrative of your book.
When playing a domino game, each player draws his hand of dominoes from the stock. The dominoes in his hand are called the stack, and each domino has a value indicated by the number of spots or pips on it. The value of a single domino is called its rank, and the values of doubles are collectively called their suit.
After all of the players draw their hands, they then begin to play dominoes in a line called the layout or string. The line of play can be played lengthwise or crosswise, and the direction depends on the rules of the game being played. If a player has a double tile in his hand, it must be played first. If the player cannot make another play with his tile, it must be passed to the next player.
Once the line of play is in place, players may continue to add tiles to it. The most common types of domino games are blocking and scoring games, but other kinds of games are also played. Some of these games are adaptations of card games, and they were often played to circumvent religious prohibitions against the playing of cards.
Each player may make one move per turn in a domino game. The player who makes the first play of a game is referred to as the setter, the downer, or the lead. In some games, the highest double begins play; in others, the heaviest single is the first to be played. In the event of a tie, the player who holds the highest double or the heaviest single starts play. Occasionally, no player is able to make a play, and the game ends. In such a case, the winner of the last game may open the next one. The last play of a game is sometimes referred to as the blocker. A blocker may block the flow of the game by holding a single tile and refusing to let it fall.