Domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, each side of which has either a blank or marked surface. Dominoes are often arranged on a table or other flat surface in long lines, each one touching the next to form a sequence of connected dominoes. The way that the dominoes are positioned on the surface, and how each tile is played to others, forms the basis for many different games. The number of dominoes a player uses depends on the game. Most dominoes are numbered from zero to nine, although larger sets exist for players who enjoy longer domino chains.
The word domino is also used as a noun to refer to the first domino in a chain, or even an entire string of dominoes. The terms set, down, and lead are also sometimes used to describe this first domino in a game. It is important to note that, in some domino games, a player may be allowed to play an additional tile on top of a double if the game rules allow for it.
Physicist Stephen Morris, who works on the physics of complex systems, explains the domino effect in this way: When you pick up a domino and hold it upright against the pull of gravity, it has potential energy based on its position. When you drop it, this energy is converted to kinetic energy as the domino falls over, setting off a chain reaction of subsequent dominoes that tip over and continue in a similar fashion until all of the tiles are in place.
It can be very fun to experiment with how the chain of dominoes will develop, trying to anticipate where a domino is likely to land and where a domino might stop. It can also be entertaining to watch a professional player in action, attempting to follow the exact rules of a particular game and making the correct moves at the right time.
There are many different ways to play a domino game, with the exact rules varying from region to region and even from game to game. A game may be simple or complicated, with more or less rules depending on the preferences of the players. There are some basic rules that must be followed, however, in order to be sure the game is fair for all participants.
If a player draws more tiles for his hand than he is entitled to, this is called an overdraw. It is important that this is caught before the next player draws his hand and that the extra tiles are returned to the boneyard, where they should be reshuffled for the next game.
The game of domino has become a cultural icon in many parts of the world, and is also well known as a popular educational tool. The dominoes themselves are often referred to as bones, cards, chips, or tiles. They are also frequently seen in art, with a great variety of designs and artistic styles being employed to create masterpieces of domino art. The word “domino” itself has an interesting history, both the game and the word itself having roots in European culture as early as 1750. In English, the term previously denoted a long hooded cloak worn with a mask at a carnival or masquerade. In French, it had an earlier sense referring to a priest’s black domino contrasted with his white surplice.