The Basics of Domino


Domino is a game with many variations in rules from region to region. In general, players draw dominoes for their hands and place them in a line called the line of play. Each time a player places a domino on the line of play, it must touch at least one end of an existing tile. This causes the line of play to grow – like a snake-line – into an ever lengthening chain.

Some players like to set their dominoes in lines, angular patterns or squares. In this way, they create what is known as a “domino effect.” The idea is that when any one domino falls, it will trigger a chain reaction of dominoes that will fall in the same manner. The effect is based on gravity. As each domino stands upright, it stores potential energy based on its position. However, when a domino is placed on the line of play and becomes the lead, the energy stored is converted to kinetic energy. The next domino that is played must be “matched” to this new energy, and this will also cause a chain reaction.

Besides playing a game of domino with friends, this game can be used to teach children the basic principles of mathematics. It’s an excellent way to help them develop their hand-eye coordination, and it can be a fun family activity, as well.

The word “domino” comes from the Latin word dominum, meaning “heavy.” A domino is a small rectangular block with either blank or marked by dots resembling those on dice. It is typically twice as long as it is wide, which makes it easier to re-stack the pieces after use. A complete set of dominoes contains 28 such blocks. Dominoes are sometimes referred to as bones, cards, tiles, men or spinners.

A popular variation on the game of domino involves using a boneyard, which is a container for the extra dominoes that cannot be used for the current turn. When a player draws a tile that does not match a domino already on the table, the player passes his or her turn and picks another domino from the boneyard for his or her hand. If the domino he or she chooses is not able to be played, it goes back to the boneyard for redrawing.

There are countless variations in the rules of a domino game, but most can be grouped into four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games and round games. The majority of the most popular domino games fit into these categories.

In addition to the traditional games, some people are even developing domino-like devices, such as purpose-built pizza-delivery vehicles. Although these are more for marketing purposes, it is a way to add a modern twist to an old favorite. In the future, who knows how this game will evolve? Just remember, when you’re having a family game of domino, always play safely. If you’re not careful, the domino might come tumbling down on you!