The Domino Effect

The domino effect is the phenomenon of one event causing another, often more serious, to occur. It is a common term used to describe things like an unexpected side effect of taking medication, a sudden shift in work habits or the way that a small change in behavior can lead to more significant changes.

The same principle is at play in domino, where a small nudge can cause an entire line of unsuspecting dominoes to fall over and create a chain reaction that changes the whole environment around them. But while the power of this force is clear, its origins are not as simple as you might think.

Using a domino set to play games is a great way for children and adults to learn basic math skills, as well as the value of cooperation and perseverance. While there are many different kinds of domino games, they all fall into four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games and round games. Most of the most popular domino games involve emptying one’s hand while blocking opponents’ play. Others involve scoring by counting the pips (spots on a domino) in the losing players’ hands.

Most domino sets have a total of twenty-four tiles, with each tile having two pips and either an up or down face. Some domino sets have more than twenty-four, but these are usually called extended sets and are used for very large games with multiple players.

A domino game begins when the player to the left of the dealer draws his or her first tile for their hand. If a player draws more than they are entitled to, this is called an overdraw. The player should then recall the extra tiles and return them to the stock before the next player takes his or her turn.

After a domino is played, the player to the right of that domino may choose to add his or her own domino. The player must then match the open end of the tile he or she plays to the corresponding open end of the next domino in the line of play. This is known as matching, and it is the key to most domino games.

The number of dominoes in the line of play depends on the number of matches and whether or not any double tiles are used. Most domino games require only a single- or double-spot tile per turn, but the most popular extended sets contain the double-18 (190 tiles).

In addition to polymer plastic, dominoes are available in a variety of other materials and finishes. European-style domino sets are traditionally made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted. A number of modern dominoes are also made from woods, metals and even ceramic clay. Some people prefer the look and feel of natural dominoes, and these can be more expensive than plastic sets.