What is a Domino?

A small rectangular block used for gaming, bearing a pattern of spots resembling those on dice. Dominoes are usually made of wood or plastic, but can also be of other rigid materials, such as bone or stone. A domino can be a single tile or part of a large chain-reaction setup. The word is also used as a general term for any game that involves the placement of dominoes. The most common games involve scoring points or blocking opponents from play. Other types of games include tumbling, matching, and educational games.

A player begins by drawing all of his tiles in his hand. Then, the first player (determined by drawing lots or by deciding who has the heaviest hand) places a domino on the table. He does so by placing the domino on its edge, facing toward himself. Then he places another domino on top of it, either facing the same direction or perpendicular to the first one. The next players then place their tiles in the same way, and a domino chain develops.

The tiles are numbered on each end. The numbers represent different kinds of suits, which can be used in various ways to win the game. A domino with two pips on one half of its face belongs to the suit of three; a double domino has two sets of pips, so it can belong to two suits. The aces are the most valuable, as they can match up with any kind of domino.

Some people make domino chains as art, and they can take hours to complete. Some of these sets are so huge that it takes several nail-biting minutes for the whole thing to fall. The world record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement is 76,017. The artist who created this amazing display is a woman named Hevesh, and her YouTube channel has over 2 million subscribers.

While it’s true that a domino can be tipped over by a finger, the real power comes from its ability to set off a chain reaction. A physicist demonstrated this phenomenon in 1983 by putting 13 dominoes on a board and then pushing them all over at once. The effect is much more powerful than you might think, as the dominoes fell almost a foot and a half from their starting position.

The “domino effect” can apply to many aspects of life, including writing. A story needs to have scenes that advance the plot and move the hero closer to or farther from his goal. But those scenes must be spaced correctly to keep the story moving forward at a satisfying pace. A scene should not feel overly long (heavy with detail or minutiae) nor too short, or the reader might lose interest. Instead, a scene should be paced like the falling of dominoes, with just the right amount of momentum. This is a principle I try to teach my clients when providing book editing services.