What is Domino?

Domino is a game using a set of tiles marked with numbers and blank sides. A player places a domino, or dominoes, on the table so that one end of the tile touches the other end of another domino that has already been placed. Then, in turn, each player adds a domino to the row, until a chain of dominoes is complete. Players then compete to finish the chain of dominoes in the fewest moves. The first player to do so wins the game. The most common commercially available domino sets contain 28 double six tiles, though larger sets exist for games that involve more than two players or that require longer chains of dominoes.

Domino has been around for a long time. The oldest known set of dominoes was found in a tomb in Saqqara, Egypt, dating from about 231 BC. A Chinese document titled Chu sz yam (Investigations on the Traditions of All Things) stated that dominoes were invented by a statesman in 1120 CE, and that they were circulated by imperial order during the reign of Emperor Hui Tsung (1127-1163 CE).

Traditionally, most domino games fall into two broad categories: blocking or scoring. Blocking games, such as matador, chicken foot, and Mexican train, involve emptying the opponent’s hand while preventing the playing of new dominoes. Scoring games, such as bergen and muggins, determine points by counting the number of exposed dots on a lost domino (either at one end or both ends) after each player has played a domino.

There are also a number of other types of domino games that do not fit into either of these categories, such as solitaire or trick-taking games, many of which are adaptations of card games and were once popular to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards.

Dominoes can be made from a variety of materials. Traditional European-style sets use bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted. More recently, dominoes have been made from materials such as marble and granite; soapstone; metals including brass and pewter; ceramic clay; and frosted glass or crystal.

Hevesh is a professional domino artist, creating mind-blowing installations for movies and television shows, and events including the launch of Katy Perry’s album. She follows a version of the engineering-design process when she creates her displays, starting with a theme or purpose for an installation, brainstorming images and words that might work, and then laying out all of the pieces in careful sequence before letting them tumble according to the laws of physics.

The image of a domino is also an apt metaphor for the way that scenes in a story work together. If a scene appears to be lagging behind, or doesn’t seem to have any impact on the scenes that come before it, there is likely something wrong with the story structure. In the case of a novel, this may mean that a plot outline is needed to make sure that the story is working properly.