What is Domino?
Domino, also known as dominoes or dominations, is a type of game in which players place small blocks (or tiles) edge to edge on a table. Each tile has an identifying mark on one face, and is blank or identically patterned on the other. The identifying marks are usually a line or a ridge of spots, like those on a die, but some dominoes may have a different pattern, such as an inverted triangle. In some games the identifier is an image; in others it is simply written on the face of each piece. Dominoes have been in existence for centuries, and they are now available in a variety of forms, including electronic versions.
The term domino comes from the Latin domini, meaning “flip,” and is an allusion to a particular style of play in which the first person to touch a domino, or “flip” it over, triggers a chain reaction involving many more pieces. Despite their simplicity, dominoes have spawned an enormous number of variations in game rules and themes. The word domino has even taken on a more figurative sense, denoting the power of one person or thing over another. For example, the company Domino’s once used the domino effect to achieve its goal of being a large pizza chain by strategically placing its stores near college campuses.
There are many types of domino games, but the most common involve positioning dominoes in a line, either vertically or horizontally. Each player in turn places a domino on the line, positioning it so that it touches two adjacent dominoes. Each domino then shows a number at one end or the other. The first player to connect all four ends of a chain is the winner.
In addition to positional games, there are a number of solitaire or trick-taking games based on dominoes. These are often adaptations of card games and were popular in some areas because they allowed players to play cards in the face of religious prohibitions against them. Domino games also include several games based on the principle that a pair of dominoes must be identical, such as the classic Concentration.
Domino art is an artistic form in which people create intricate lines of dominoes, forming shapes such as hearts and flowers. These creations are then photographed and posted online. There are also a number of domino art contests held annually, with winning designs appearing in museums and galleries.
Although it might be tempting to use a domino to knock over a wall or other structure, this is not recommended. The force that causes a domino to fall is the result of friction between the top and bottom of each piece. This friction converts some of the domino’s potential energy into heat and sound, which can damage surfaces on which the pieces are placed.
Lily Hevesh has been playing dominoes since she was 9 years old, when her grandparents gave her a 28-piece set. She now works as a professional domino artist, creating dazzling displays that are featured in movies, TV shows, and events, including the album launch for Katy Perry. She says that while there are a lot of factors that go into a successful design, the most important is gravity.