A domino is a small flat block, thumbsized and rectangular in shape, bearing from one to six pips or dots. It is used in various games, either as a playing tile or to form structures, such as lines and angular patterns, from which the pieces fall in a rhythmic motion. The name derives from the Latin for “flip”, referring to the way in which the blocks can be flipped over by the slightest touch.
Dominoes are available in a wide range of shapes and colors. Each has a different number of pips, which are used to identify it among the other tiles in a set and to indicate its suit. Each domino may also bear the number doubles (6-6 and 12-6, for example), or it may be blank. A game of dominoes is won by a player who scores the most points over a specified number of rounds. Scores are awarded by counting the pips on opposing players’ tiles (the rules of a game specify whether to count a domino’s doubles as two or one), and each round begins with the first player placing his or her tile.
Many games involve the use of a domino set, which is composed of 28 tiles and features two suits. The most common is the double-six set, which provides an excellent introduction to positional games. In these, each player in turn places a domino on the table, positioning it edge to edge against another, so that the open ends of the two tiles match each other (for example, a 5-5 or 6-6). This begins a chain of play that increases in length as each tile is placed in its proper position.
Other games involve blocking or scoring, where a single player attempts to remove all of the opponent’s tiles from the board, or to place tiles in such a way as to form a specified total. For this type of game, larger sets are often used.
The game can also be used to create artistic designs, such as straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, and 3D structures like pyramids. Domino art is a popular hobby, and there are competitions held for the best designs.
When creating a story, authors often think of each plot beat as a domino, which falls when the others before it are tripped. Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or follow a precise outline, if you are careful to get all of your plot dominoes in a row, readers will enjoy the smooth action as your story builds toward its climax. The opposite is true of a story with choppy plot points that cause the reader to lose interest. The key is to keep the dominoes in a row by thinking of each plot point as a domino, and by planning out how they will fit together. Using the domino effect in your writing will help you accomplish this.