Dominos are small rectangular blocks, usually with a face divided into two parts, each blank or bearing from one to six dots resembling those on dice. A complete set of dominoes consists of 28 such pieces. The word is also used for a game played with such pieces, or for the rules that govern them.
The idiom domino effect refers to the way in which an action in one place can trigger a chain reaction that affects many other places. It can be used to describe events in politics or business, and is a popular metaphor for an unpredictable result.
Domino art, which is also known as domino sculpture or domino wall art, involves the arrangement of dominoes to form pictures and structures. It can be as simple as lining up dominoes in straight lines, or it can involve creating complex grids that create images, 3D structures like towers and pyramids, or a complex chessboard pattern. The art can be a wonderful decoration for any home or office, and it is also a great activity for children and adults.
Traditionally, domino sets were 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. More recently, domino sets have been made from polymer, plastic, metal, wood composites and other materials. These newer sets are usually more colorful than the older traditional ones, and have a smooth surface that is easier to play on than the rough edges of bone or MOP sets.
Most domino games fall into four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games and round games. In most of these games, a player draws a certain number of tiles for his hand and then plays them in order. Normally, the player whose hand contains the highest total score wins. Sometimes, however, play stops before a player has the chance to make another move. In such a case, the winning player is the one who has the highest combined total of all the pips on his remaining tiles.
There are also a variety of domino games in which the players draw hands with identical numbers of tiles, and then use their tiles to build up a structure that is scored according to specific rules. These games can be challenging and rewarding, and they can be a fun addition to parties or family get-togethers.
Another interesting aspect of domino is that it can be used to teach math, history and other subjects in an engaging way. It is also a good way to help students develop their motor skills by learning how to set up and knock down a long line of dominoes.