A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, the surface of which is marked by dots resembling those on dice. It is usually white on one side and black on the other, though some are painted or carved in a variety of styles and colors. It is typically used as a playing piece in various games of chance and skill. The term domino is also used to describe a series of events, particularly when the initial action leads to much greater-and often catastrophic-consequences.
The first known use of the word was around 1750. In English, the term originally referred to a long hooded cloak worn together with a mask at carnival time or a masquerade. The same word had an even earlier meaning in French, referring to a cape worn by a priest over his surplice. The modern word is probably derived from the Italian word domino, which is in turn probably related to the Latin for crown, perhaps reflecting the fact that early dominoes were sometimes shaped like the head of a crown.
Dominoes can be played in many different ways, and there are a large number of games. Some involve scoring points by laying a domino end to end (the touching ends must match, i.e., one’s touch one’s and two’s touch two’s) while others require blocking other players’ play, such as in bergen and muggins. Many domino games also help children practice their number recognition and counting skills.
A basic set of dominoes consists of 28 tiles. In addition to the 28 tiles, some sets are “extended” by introducing additional dominoes with a larger number of spots on their ends. This increases the total number of possible ends and thus the number of unique pieces in the set. Common extended sets are double-nine (55 tiles), double-12 and double-15.
Some people may also use dominoes to build structures such as arches, walls and bridges. This is a popular activity among children, and adults may also participate in competitive building challenges. Dominoes are also used in a number of other board games, including backgammon and cribbage.
For those who wish to make a domino chain without building anything, there is a game called Domino Rally, which involves placing a single domino in such a way that it touches the end of another piece at its opposite side, thereby starting the chain. It is a fun and challenging game that is not hard to learn.
There are a number of different rules for playing dominoes, and it is best to have a large table to ensure that the dominoes will not be knocked over easily. In addition, it is good to have a pencil and paper nearby so that the players can mark off completed lines of dominoes.
Writing Tip of the Day: A good story is like a line of dominoes – each scene builds up and connects to the next until it reaches the big climax. If your scenes are a bit scattered or don’t have enough logical impact, you might want to consider some scene cards and/or using an outline program such as Scrivener.