Domino was invented in Ypsilanti, Michigan, by an unemployed woodworker named Nick Monaghan. He figured out how to build a machine that could push down a domino without using his hands. The result was a system that allowed him to make pizza faster than ever before. Monaghan put his pizza business near college campuses to attract young customers, and the chain grew rapidly.
A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, thumb-sized, with one face blank and the other marked with an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. A complete set of dominoes, called a deck, has 28 such pieces. Each domino can be played with only one other domino, and a player may not play a piece unless it has a number showing on both ends (normally a useful or distasteful number). A player who is unable to make a play, or who makes a mistake in playing his or her own tile, must call out “knock” or rap the table and pass turn to another player.
Many domino games have similar or identical names, but the rules vary from game to game. Some games are designed to be played in partnership, and if a partner is unable to continue the game when turn comes back around to him or her, the partners can determine who will win by counting the pips on the remaining tiles left in each player’s hand at the end of the hand or game.
Some domino players, particularly those who compete with others for high scores, will agree to use a scoring method in which the winner is determined by adding up all of the pips on the winning tiles, counting only one end of each double (for example, 4-4 counts as only four points). Other rules are in place to prevent players from buying more than they need.
A common way to use domino is to construct a piece of art, usually in the form of a long line or curved shape. This art is often made to look like a particular theme or scene. Some people create domino art as a hobby, while others do it professionally for movies, TV shows, and events such as album launches. Domino art can be both complex and beautiful. Creating domino art requires careful planning. The first domino must be carefully positioned to ensure that the entire design will fall correctly. In addition, the art must be built on a sturdy surface that can support the weight of the completed design. Some artists choose to build their masterpieces on the floor, while others construct them on a flat surface such as a table. For both types of art, the artist must also plan for the speed at which the dominoes will fall, because if the dominoes move too fast, the design might topple over. A domino art project can take hours to complete.