The Basics of Domino

Domino is a tile-based game in which players place dominoes on the table and then, taking turns, build a chain of dominoes by placing tiles that touch either end of an existing domino or a domino with one or more open ends. When a domino is played that produces a pair of matching ends, the other end of the existing domino must be either closed (showing a number that is useful to the player) or open (showing a number distasteful to the opponent). When an entire row of the dominoes shows all of one type of end, it is said to be “stitched up.”

The game is most commonly played with double-six dominoes, although blocks of other sizes and shapes are also available. Each domino features a line down the middle to visually divide it into two squares, each marked with an arrangement of dots, called “pips.” The value of one side is indicated by the numbers showing there, while the other side may be blank or identically patterned.

The most basic set of dominoes includes the six double-six dominos and four twelfths, making a total of twenty-four pieces. This is a very small number, and so larger sets of dominoes are often “extended” by introducing additional pips. This allows more than four players to play, but the extension of pips can make it difficult to identify which domino is which. The most common extended sets are double-nine, double-12, double-15 and double-18.

Some domino games involve blocking a player’s turn by emptying one’s hand while keeping opponents’ hands full, while others award points based on counting the pips on lost tiles. The first player to reach a target score or amass the most points in a given number of rounds wins.

In addition to the many classic block- and scoring games, dominoes can be used for other types of creative play. For example, they can be arranged to form 2D shapes such as arcs and grids that display pictures when the dominoes fall. They can even be stacked to build 3D structures such as towers and pyramids.

Just as a domino has inertia, the forces that cause it to topple depend on the amount of force applied and the distance between its center of gravity and the point where a push is needed. A domino with a large center of gravity is more likely to topple than a smaller one, and it takes less force to tip it over if the domino is pushed while still standing upright. The same concept can be applied to stories: scenes that advance the story should be positioned properly so that they are neither too long (which could slow down the pace) nor too short (which can make the scene seem shallow at key plot points). A well-placed domino in a story is a powerful tool that can draw readers into a world of new characters, challenges and adventures.