Dominoes are small wood or plastic blocks that are marked with a pattern of dots resembling those on dice. They are used for making a game of chance or skill. Dominoes have many names and different sets of rules, but the basic principles are the same throughout. A domino can be played with one or more players, and is often used in place of a die in some games.
When playing a domino game, each player draws the number of tiles permitted according to the rules of the game and then places them in front of him. He then plays a tile on the table positioning it so that its matching end touches a previously played tile and also touching an open end of the line of play. As the chains of matches develop, they form a line that is known as the layout, string or line of play.
Every time a domino is toppled, it sets off a chain reaction that affects all the dominoes in the line of play. The speed at which the dominoes fall is called their rate of reaction. This rate is influenced by the number of dominoes in the line of play, and the amount of force exerted on each one of them. The faster the rate of reaction, the more powerful the force that is needed to topple a single domino.
Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, plotting your story is like building a chain of dominoes. Each scene domino may seem insignificant on its own, but when a series of scene dominoes are arranged and linked together, they can lead to a compelling and effective story.
The word domino comes from the Italian verb domini, meaning to command. The word also denotes a long hooded cloak worn with a mask at carnival season or a masquerade. The domino playing piece also brought to mind the garment. It has been suggested that the hooded cloak sense of the word derived from the fact that when the ebony black domino pieces first appeared, they were designed to contrast with the white surplices of priests.
A domino is sometimes referred to as a “spinner” because it can be played on all four sides. In some games, a spinner is considered to be a special double. Depending on the game, other doubles can be made into spinners as well. In addition to the aforementioned rule variations, some games also include scoring methods that are unique to the game. For example, in some games the winning player must count all the pips on the tiles left in his losers’ hands at the end of a hand or the game and then add them to his score. However, this is often less satisfying to the players than simply counting only the pips on the dominoes in the winner’s hand and then adding them to his score.