The Basics of Dominoes

Domino is a game in which players place rectangular tiles on a flat surface, and then roll a domino from one end to the other. The tiles have a value (sometimes called the rank or weight) indicated by an arrangement of dots, or pips, on their faces. The sum of the pips on both sides of a domino determines its value, as well as its place in the line of play. Dominoes may also be referred to as bones, cards, men, or pieces. A domino can be a single tile, a molded set of several tiles, or a 3-D structure like a tower or pyramid.

Dominoes have been around for centuries and are still played in many ways, with different rules in each location. Some of the most popular games are ad-hoc, with no formal rules or winning conditions, while others have specific rules and scoring mechanisms. The domino is also used to create art, either as a simple straight or curved line of dominoes or in complex grids that form pictures and 3D structures when they fall.

The term domino also refers to the act of playing a domino, and is sometimes used as a verb meaning “to put down.” In most domino games, a line of tiles is formed when one player puts down a domino, with each adjacent tile becoming linked by its open ends to the previous domino played. The number of pips on each open end determines the value of that domino, and is noted in the basic instructions listed here under Line of Play for each game.

When a player has a double and no more to play, the rules of some games require that the domino be played as a spinner. A spinner is a double that can be played on all four sides, or “ends,” and therefore contribute to the total count of the dominoes in the line of play. Alternatively, a double that is played across the line of play may contribute to the count as well, depending on the game rules.

Some games allow players to bye, or draw, additional tiles from the stock. When this happens, the rules of the game state which player may make the first play. If the rules do not specify a player, the heaviest domino in the hand will be chosen to make the first play.

The domino effect in fiction is the way that a scene of action in a story naturally influences the next scene. It’s a vital technique for writers to master in order to create scenes that feel realistic and engaging. For example, if a character is about to do something immoral, the writer needs to provide readers with enough logic that they will understand why the character does it and then follow the chain of events. Otherwise, the scene will seem illogical and confusing to readers. Hevesh starts her domino setups by making test versions of each section and filming them in slow motion, to ensure that everything works as planned. She then builds the biggest 3-D sections first, followed by flat arrangements and finally lines of dominoes that connect all the sections together.