A domino is a small rectangular game piece that has anywhere from 0 to 6 dots. Stacks of these game pieces can be lined up in long lines, and when the first domino is tipped over, it will knock down hundreds and sometimes thousands of others. This use of dominoes is what inspired the phrase “domino effect,” which refers to a chain reaction that starts with a single event and leads to larger-scale consequences. Dominoes are also used to create artistic designs, and they can be stood up in curved or zigzag shapes.

A standard set of dominoes consists of 28 tiles, but larger sets can be found for games with multiple players or those who want to play long domino games. The most popular type of domino game is called a layout game, which involves positioning the tiles in such a way that adjacent faces either match (e.g., 5 to 5) or form some other specified total. Dominoes can be categorized into suits, with each suit consisting of tiles with identical pips on all four sides. There are also doubles, which have one or two pips on each face and are distinguished from regular dominoes by the fact that additional tiles may be placed on only some of their ends. The pips on a domino are often painted, but they can also be engraved or inlaid onto the surface of the tile.

Dominoes can be made out of a variety of materials, with some sets combining different colors or types of material to create a unique look. For example, some sets are made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl), ivory, or ebony with contrasting black or white pips (inlaid or painted). The most common domino sets are made of wood, and they are generally sold in a cardboard box. However, domino sets can also be made of marble, granite, soapstone, or metals; these more expensive varieties are often more decorative and may be accompanied by a display stand.

In addition to the aforementioned layout games, dominoes are commonly played for scoring. The player who earns the most points over a set number of rounds wins. The scores are awarded by counting the pips on opposing players’ tiles, taking into account that doubles count as either one or two, and that a double-blank counts as zero. Rules vary between games, so each player should be aware of the score-tracking rules for any particular game before playing.

Lily Hevesh began playing with dominoes when she was 9 years old, and she loved the way that you could line them up in a straight or curved line and flick one over to make it fall. Now, Hevesh is a professional domino artist who makes impressive layouts for movie premieres and other events. She has a large following on YouTube, where she posts videos of her work. She also uses her skills to create amazing setups for her own enjoyment.