The Basics of Domino

Domino is a type of game where players place tiles edge to edge, forming a line on the table. Each tile bears a number or symbol on one end and is blank or identically patterned on the other. When a domino is played, it triggers the effect of all the other tiles in its line of play and causes them to fall over. The basic rules listed here apply to the majority of the domino games shown on this site, but there are a few that do not use hands and a few where the lines of play are not formed.

In fiction, a scene domino might be a piece of information that provides the next scene with its climax. For example, if a character discovers something at the end of one scene that is crucial to the story’s progression, the next scene can’t simply skip over it. That would leave the reader wondering what happened and why. Instead, the writer can add a scene domino that naturally reveals the significance of what the character found.

Scene dominoes are also useful for plotters who prefer to improvise as they write. If you do not use an outline or the software tool Scrivener to help you plan your work, it is easy to end up with scenes that are at the wrong angle or don’t have enough logical impact on the plot ahead of them. Using scene dominoes allows you to easily weed out unnecessary or repetitive scenes without breaking the flow of the story.

There are many different variations on the rules of domino and even within a single game, there can be several ways to play it. In fact, a 1983 study by University of British Columbia physicist Lorne Whitehead demonstrated that dominoes can actually knock over items about one-and-a-half times their size when properly placed.

The most common sets of domino are made from polymer, which has become the standard due to the cost and convenience of production. However, there are also many sets made from natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl or MOP), ivory, and dark hardwoods such as ebony. These sets typically have a more sophisticated appearance and often feel heavier in the hand than polymer.

When playing a domino game with more than one player, seating arrangements are usually determined by drawing a domino from the stock to establish a seat order. If there is a tie, the higher-numbered domino is used to seat the player to its left. In a double-blind game, this may not be possible and the seat order is then established by the highest-numbered domino held by each player.

Because the total number of dominoes in a set is limited by its physical dimensions, many sets are “extended” by adding ends with more spots. Most commonly, this increases the maximum number of unique combinations of pips on each end by three. Typical extended sets include double-nine, double-twelve, and double-18.