What is Domino?


Domino is a game of chance or skill in which players place small rectangular wood or plastic blocks called dominoes on a table. Each domino has one or more pips (or dots) that indicate its value. Players compete to make a line of dominoes by laying tiles in accordance with the rules of the particular game. Depending on the game, players may try to match colors or numbers, or score points by placing particular combinations of dominoes. Some games include multiple sets of tiles for different players to play together.

The word domino has several meanings, and the game itself has been around for centuries. The earliest sense of the word probably related to a long hooded cloak worn by a carnival mask, and this may have influenced the design of the domino pieces, which are colored ivory or white with contrasting black pips. Another early sense of the word probably related to a priest’s black cape that contrasts with his white surplice. These early uses may explain why the color of the pips is traditionally associated with the Catholic Church.

There are many different games of domino, but most fall into one of four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games, and round games. Most of these games are adaptations of card games, but there are also domino games that do not involve a deck of cards at all.

Most domino games are played between two or more players. Each player draws a certain number of dominoes from the stock according to the rules of the game, and adds them to his hand of tiles. The first player to play a tile begins the turn. The next player plays a domino of equal or higher value, and so on. When a player is not able to play his tiles, he “knocks” the table and play passes to his opponent.

Physicist Stephen Morris believes that the way dominoes work is similar to how nerve impulses travel in your body. When a domino is flipped, it gains potential energy from its position. As the domino falls, much of that potential energy converts to kinetic energy, which causes other dominoes to topple in response.

In some games, a player may draw more dominoes for his hand than the rules allow. This is called an overdraw. When this occurs, the player who has drawn the most dominoes for his hand must recall them before the player to his left can draw from the stock. The overdrawn dominoes are then returned to the stock and reshuffled before the next player draws his hand.

When Lily Hevesh was a young girl, she loved setting up dominoes in straight or curved lines and then flicking them over. This inspired her to become a professional domino artist who creates mind-blowing setups for movies, TV shows, and events—including the album launch for pop star Katy Perry. Hevesh has developed a process for creating her elaborate domino setups that she calls a version of engineering-design. She starts by considering the theme or purpose of the installation and brainstorming images or words that might relate to it. She then tests out each piece of the layout in order to get it to work as intended.