Domino is a game in which players set dominoes edge to edge on a table and then attempt to make them fall in a line. There are many different games played with this simple toy, but most involve some type of competition between two or more players. Some games involve a fixed number of tiles, while others use an unlimited number of tiles.
The word domino is derived from the Latin dominus, meaning “lord,” and it has long been associated with the concept of cause and effect. A player who is adept at domino understands the consequences of his or her actions and is always thinking ahead. This game also teaches the importance of planning and strategy.
In physics, the domino principle states that when one domino topples, it creates a chain reaction in which all of the surrounding dominoes must also toppled. This happens because of a change in energy: When a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy (based on its position). When the domino falls over, most of this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy (energy of motion), which causes all of the other dominoes to fall over in a predictable way.
Some traditional domino sets have a combination of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or dark hardwood such as ebony. These types of materials give the set a more distinguished look, and their weight gives them a satisfying feel in the hand. The pips on these sets are either inlaid or painted. Other sets have been made from stone (such as marble, granite or soapstone); metals; ceramic clay; and even frosted glass.
When playing a domino game, the first player to complete their dominoes wins. This is done by matching the pips on the open end of a tile with those of another tile in the line of play. This configuration of tiles is called the line of play, and there are basic instructions for this on this website under Line of Play.
Once a player has completed their line of play, they may draw new dominoes from the stock to make another hand. This process is often referred to as buying, passing or byeing. After the players have drawn their hands, they may begin play by placing a tile on the center of the line of play. This domino is often referred to as the set, the down, or the lead.
If a player has a double in their hand, they may choose to play it immediately. This is a common rule variation that allows players to play the highest domino in their hand before anyone else. Other rules allow a player to begin play by drawing the heaviest domino from the stock, or by following the rules for that specific game.
Some games are not based on lines of play at all, but rather on other forms of configurations. For example, some games are based on forming shapes, such as a grid that forms pictures when the dominoes fall, or stacked walls and pyramids.