What is Domino?


Domino is a type of game that involves placing domino tiles, or “tiles,” in such a way that when one tile falls over another tile, the chain continues until all of the tiles are down. Depending on the game rules, the end result is often a beautiful and rhythmic cascade of movement.

The word, domino, has also come to mean any action or sequence that can cause other events to follow in a similar pattern. For example, a student failing a class can have a domino effect on the rest of her or his studies, and ultimately affect the overall course of their college career. The term domino also refers to other types of chains that can be built, including electrical circuits and musical compositions.

In the modern world, domino games are played worldwide and can be found in many forms. The most common are a number of positional games in which each player places a domino edge to edge against another so that the adjacent faces are identical or form some specified total. In this type of game, the first player to complete their chain wins.

Another popular game is the Block game in which a player places a domino so that it covers a matching tile. When playing this type of game, a player passes their turn when they cannot play a domino. The game then moves to the next player who begins a new set of tiles by placing a domino on an empty space.

The most common domino tiles are made of a material such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony. The pips (the dots on each domino) are typically inlaid or painted, and the pips of some sets are colored to provide a more dramatic look. More recently, domino sets have been made of other natural materials, such as stone (e.g., marble or granite); woods such as ash, oak, redwood, and cedar; metals; ceramic clay; and other materials such as crystal and glass. These alternative materials have a more elegant appearance and are usually heavier than polymer sets.

While most dominoes are standardized in size, shape, and material, there are many variations in the rules of individual games. For example, some rules require that each tile must cover a specific number of spaces, while others specify the maximum or minimum distance that a tile may travel before being covered. The number of points awarded to a player for a completed chain is also usually agreed upon by the players before starting the game. A typical scoring system counts the number of pips on each opposing player’s dominoes (a double is counted as two, and a 6-6 counts as 12) with a single-blank domino counting as zero.

A domino is much more powerful than most people realize. University of Toronto physicist Stephen Morris demonstrates the domino effect in this video, which shows that a domino placed upright stores potential energy until it is struck and topples. When it does, the energy is converted to kinetic energy and transmitted through the domino chain, knocking over pieces of wood about one-and-a-half times their size.