A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block with one side blank and the other dotted, in the form of spots resembling those on dice. The spots are called pips. Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide, to make them easier to re-stack after use. They can be played with either a traditional set of 28 or an extended set that contains more than 30 tiles. A domino has a value that is determined by the number of pips on its ends. A domino with a single pips on both its ends is worth zero, while a domino with six pips has a value of six. Traditionally, dominoes are made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony. These materials have a richer, more elegant look and are often heavier than polymer-based sets.
Many people play games with dominoes by arranging them in long lines and then tripping the first one, thus setting off a chain reaction. When this happens, the rest of the dominoes will fall over in sequence, as if by magic. This is the domino effect, and it can be quite spectacular when done right.
Dominoes can also be used to create works of art. For example, some artists arrange the tiles in straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures, or 3D structures such as towers or pyramids. A popular artist who uses this technique is Lily Hevesh, whose YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers. She also produces spectacular setups for movies and events such as an album launch for singer Katy Perry.
When playing domino, players must have matching values in order to advance their pieces. The most common value is double-six, but a variety of different games are played with other pairs of tiles. Some of these are adaptations of card games, while others were once popular in areas where religious proscriptions forbade the playing of cards.
Some of these games involve blocking or scoring. Others are variants of solitaire or trick-taking. A very simple game that uses any two tiles with a matching value is Concentration, which can be enjoyed by children of all ages.
The principles of domino are similar to those that govern the way that nerve impulses travel along axons in the brain. A domino pulse moves at a constant speed without losing energy, and it travels in only one direction.
Whether you are an author who writes off the cuff or a meticulous plotter, a great story can be told through domino effects. In a novel, for instance, a single action can trigger a series of events that has dramatic and sometimes catastrophic consequences. It is important to be aware of these effects and to plan for them. This can be done by considering the question, “What will happen next?” as you compose your manuscript. The answers to this question will help you plot your book and guide your character’s actions.