The Basics of Domino

Domino is a game in which players score points by laying dominoes end to end. When two adjacent open ends of a domino match, the number of dots on each is counted; if this total is a multiple of five, a player scores that number of points. A skillful player can win the game by being the first to reach a certain number of points usually 61. The game can be played in noisy urban squares and quiet village homes and fosters a sense of shared humanity.

In business, the domino effect describes the tendency of one event to trigger a chain reaction that leads to much greater consequences. An example would be a company that hires someone who becomes so effective that they are asked to do more. Another would be a new product that has great promise, but it fails and causes many customers to switch to a competitor. In both cases, the original action was a small step, but it triggered a large reaction.

Traditionally, dominoes have been made from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or dark wood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips. A set of dominoes can also be made from metals such as brass or pewter; ceramic clay; glass, including frosted glass; and other materials such as marble or granite. These sets typically feel heavier and have a more interesting look than their polymer counterparts.

A basic game for two players requires a double-six set of 28 tiles. These are shuffled and form the “stock” or boneyard, from which each player draws seven tiles. The player who draws the highest-value tile leads the first play. The remainder of the tiles are then arranged face down on the table, with each player able to see only his or her own. Players take turns drawing and playing tiles until all but the lowest-value domino are used.

Some games require more than just a double-six set. These are often known as “extended” sets and include the double-nine, double-12 and double-15 sets. These larger sets increase the number of unique combinations of ends by three. Each tile in a domino has two sides, called ends, each of which can be marked with a number from six to blank, with the higher numbers indicating more pips.

Some people use dominoes to create elaborate structures that can take hours, days or weeks to complete. A well-known artist is Hevesh, who creates art displays using dominoes stacked on end to form pictures and walls. Some of her most spectacular works can be seen at museums and private collections. She has even helped set a Guinness record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement. Hevesh explains that she starts each project by considering the theme or purpose and brainstorming images or words that can be represented with dominoes. She then decides on the layout and plan how to arrange the pieces.