The Basics of Domino


Domino, both the game and the name, come from an Italian word meaning “falling.” The first domino to fall starts a chain reaction that causes all of the other dominoes to topple over one by one. The falling of each domino is accompanied by a loud clattering noise as the pips on the surface of the piece slip against each other and against the surface that they’re resting on.

Each domino contains a set of pips in various combinations that represent different numbers. Each domino can be positioned in various ways to create lines of play that follow a particular rule. These rules determine the order in which the dominoes are played, and they may dictate how many turns each player will make. A domino’s pips are easily recognizable by its color and shape, although some large sets contain more readable Arabic numerals.

Physicist Stephen Morris, who specializes in the mechanics of falling objects, says that when you stand up a domino, it has potential energy, or stored energy based on its position. However, the force of gravity pulls down on the piece and converts that potential energy into kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. This energy pushes on the next domino and causes it to fall. Then, as the domino falls, the pips on its edge slide against each other and against the surface they’re on, producing more friction and sound.

Before playing a game of domino, the pieces are shuffled and then arranged in rows. The players then draw a domino from the stock, and the person with the heaviest domino makes the first move. The first player can play a domino on either the left or right side of the line of play, depending on the game’s rules.

In some games, the player with the heaviest tile is also allowed to make the first play. Other games require players to wait until the next domino is placed before they can continue. Still others allow players to play a domino on top of a double only if the next domino is a single and not a double.

Most domino games fit into four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games, and round games. Each category has a different set of rules, but they all involve placing tiles in a line of play. Generally, doubles are played crosswise across the line of play, and singles are placed lengthwise.

Some domino games are also educational. For example, a teacher could use dominoes to help students learn about time management by encouraging them to rank tasks from most important to least important. Then the student could start to work on the most important task of the day and complete it before moving on to other tasks.

Good dominoes are tasks that contribute to a larger goal and have the potential to have a positive ripple effect. For instance, creating a financial plan is a good domino because it can have a significant impact on your life.