Domino is a game with many variations, but all are played by stacking small rectangular wood or plastic blocks on end in long lines. Each domino has a number of dots, called pips, that indicate its value. When a domino is set up, it can be pushed over by the next piece in line, which then triggers another one to tip, and so on. These chains can form elaborate patterns that require precise timing and skilled craftsmanship to complete.
A domino has a number of different faces, each with a different pips pattern. The dominoes that are most common in North America have pips ranging from six down to two, and each has a blank side that can be used as wild cards (see below). In Europe, the traditional style of domino features seven extra pieces–six representing the results from throwing a single die with the other half left blank, and one representing the blank-blank (0-0-0) combination.
The most popular game in which a domino is played involves forming lines of dominoes that are then tipped over in turn. This simple activity has given rise to the expression “domino effect,” which refers to any event or situation that causes a series of similar events.
Lily Hevesh, 20, started playing with dominoes when she was 9. She loved setting up the small blocks in a straight or curved line and flicking the first one over to watch the whole thing collapse, one piece at a time. Today, she’s a professional domino artist who creates mind-blowing setups for movies, TV shows and events such as the album launch for pop star Katy Perry.
In addition to the obvious fun of knocking over a line of dominoes, there are also a number of strategy games in which the players try to achieve specific goals. These goals may include creating a chain of dominoes that lead to a particular score, or it could be as simple as adding up the total value of all the tiles on the table.
To begin a game of domino, each player draws the number of tiles permitted by the rules of the specific game being played. These tiles are then placed in front of the player, who may be referred to as the setter, the downer or the leader. The winner of the last game plays the first tile in the next round.
When a player draws a tile that can be played, he or she places it in the center of the table facing the other players. Each player in turn then plays a domino on the table, positioning it so that one of its ends touches the end of the previous domino on the other side of the table. The result is a chain of dominoes that gradually increases in length.
If a player draws more tiles for his hand than the allowed number, this is known as overdrawing and the surplus must be returned to the stock. If the player does not draw a tile that can be played, a misplay is called and the play stands.