What is Domino?

Domino is a word that brings to mind the idea of cause and effect. It is a great name for someone who understands the gravity of every action, who thinks two moves ahead, and who takes their time to consider consequences before acting. This person would be a wise commander who knows the importance of thinking about the implications of his or her decisions before making them.

A domino is a small, flat thumb-sized rectangular block with each face bearing from one to six pips (or dots): 28 such pieces form a complete set. The dominoes are arranged in lines and angular patterns. Dominos may also be stacked to form larger structures, such as towers or pyramids. They can be used for a variety of games, the most common being layout games which are played with a number of players.

The most commonly used type of domino is a double-six set, which contains 28 tiles. Dominoes can be made from a variety of materials including ivory, bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), and dark hardwoods such as ebony. Many modern sets are made from polymers such as styrene, although some of the more expensive and elegantly crafted domino sets are made from natural materials such as marble, soapstone, or agate.

When playing a domino game, each player in turn places a domino on the table positioned so that it touches one end of a chain of dominoes already on the table. The chain then grows in length. Each domino has a value, normally indicated by the number of pips it bears. A domino with no pips belongs to the suit of blanks, or zero, while a domino with six pips belongs to the suit of threes.

A domino is usually twice as long as it is wide, so that it can be easily re-stacked after use. Dominoes are normally made from a composite of wood or ivory, with the faces painted with white and the edges molded in black. In addition to the traditional numbered dominoes, colored or wooden dominoes are available for players who prefer a more artistic look.

The most important characteristic of a domino is that when it hits the ground, it triggers a chain reaction that spreads out in all directions. Like the nerve impulse in a brain cell, the pulse of a falling domino travels at a constant speed, without losing energy or changing direction, and it can only be stopped by something else hitting it. This is why a large domino display can take hours to construct, and why it is easy to knock over even a single domino.