What Is Dominoes?

Dominoes are a game with black and white rectangular blocks. They can be lined up to form a line, then knocked over, or used in other ways to create games and puzzles. A domino set usually includes 28 pieces and has many nicknames, including bones, cards, men, pieces or tiles. Each domino has a square face with either blank or a number of dots, similar to the spots on dice, called pips. The value of a domino is determined by its total number of pips, which is sometimes also described as its rank or weight.

The origin of the word domino is not clear. It may be related to the French word domène, which describes a hooded cloak worn with a mask at a masquerade or carnival. Its use in English began around 1750. Earlier, it had denoted a cape worn over a priest’s surplice or other garment.

Lily Hevesh began collecting dominoes when she was 9 years old and loved setting them up in straight or curved lines. She later started a YouTube channel where she posted videos of her creations, and today, her domino artwork has earned her recognition as a professional artist. She has created stunning domino setups for movies, TV shows and events—including the album launch of pop star Katy Perry.

While most domino games involve emptying one’s hand while blocking an opponent’s play, scoring games such as bergen and muggins also exist. Other play formats include block games, such as matador, chicken foot and Mexican train, and duplicate card games, such as solitaire or trick-taking. Using a domino set to teach children counting and number recognition is a fun way to develop these skills.

In modern times, domino sets have typically been made from plastic or a mixture of wood and polymer, but in the past, they were often crafted from natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or dark hardwoods like ebony, with contrasting black or white pips. These sets are often considered to have a more elegant look and feel, and are typically more expensive than their polymer counterparts.

The idiom domino effect refers to any situation in which a small trigger can lead to an ongoing chain of events. It’s a reminder that every action can have unexpected consequences. Whether you write a book off the cuff or carefully plan out your plot, it’s important to consider how each event might impact the next. Considering this domino effect can help you compose a story that will keep your reader’s attention until the final page.