A domino is a generic game piece that, like playing cards or dice, can be used to play many different games. It consists of a rectangular tile marked with an arrangement of dots, or “pips,” on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. When stacked on their edge, they form long lines. When the first domino in a line is tipped over, it triggers a chain reaction whereby each domino that follows falls because of its position relative to the others. Using dominoes in this way can create very complex, intricate designs.
The physics behind this phenomenon is known as the Domino Effect. When one behavior causes a change in another, the results can be dramatic. For example, when a person decides to start exercising regularly, they may also find that they want to eat healthier foods. This is because the change in exercise has a ripple effect, whereby one positive action prompts a change in other related behaviors. This principle is referred to as the Domino Effect because it demonstrates that small changes can have significant, far-reaching consequences.
In domino, as with other games, players take turns playing tiles in a line that forms on the table. In most cases, the player begins with the tile that has the highest value, called a high double. This player then draws new hands based on the rules of the particular game being played, with the exception that, in some games, a player may “buy” tiles from the stock (see Passing and Byeing) instead of drawing new ones.
Once a hand has been played, a player can no longer make a play unless he has a matching tile or can “bye” a domino from the stock. Byeing is when a player draws a domino from the stock that he cannot match, and then lets someone else use that domino in his turn.
Most domino games involve only two players, although some can be played by more than two people. Most of these games fall into four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games, and round games. Traditionally, European-style dominoes were made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted on them. More recently, they have been produced in a variety of other materials, including stone (e.g., marble, granite, and soapstone); other woods; metals (e.g., brass or pewter); and even ceramic clay.
Whether a domino is being used to create a mind-boggling design or simply as a fun way to pass the time, it’s always a good idea to follow basic game rules. These instructions can help ensure that everyone has a fair chance of winning the next game. In addition, players should understand that a game may end in a tie, and, in this case, the winner of the last game will open the next one.