# The Domino Effect

The domino effect is a term used to describe a sequence of events that causes one or more other events to occur. Often, these events are very dramatic and can have a major impact on people’s lives. For example, an event may cause a chain reaction of other events such as the death of a loved one or a terrorist attack. A Domino effect may also be seen in a domino show, where builders set up hundreds or thousands of dominoes in careful sequence and watch them all topple with the nudge of just one. The most impressive domino shows are those that involve a large number of very complex and imaginative setups.

A domino is a flat, thumb-sized rectangular block that is either blank or bears from one to six spots, called pips, on each of its sides. A complete set of dominoes consists of 28 such tiles. When used in games, a domino is normally placed with the blank side down and the pips facing up.

Most domino games involve matching and laying down tiles in lines and angular patterns. Each tile is normally twice as long as it is wide, which makes them easy to re-stack after each use. When a domino is used, the two opposite ends (or faces) are marked with numbers or symbols that determine its value. The values range from six pips, which indicate the highest value, down to none or blank, which indicates that the domino cannot be played.

In some games, the open end of a domino is referred to as the spinner. The spinner is the only domino in the line of play that can be played on all four sides. The other end of a domino, when it is the lead in a game, is sometimes referred to as the pointer. In some games, a score is determined by counting the points at the ends of the line of play as the game progresses.

When playing a domino game, the players take turns playing and scoring the tiles. Each player has a hand of dominoes, and the player who plays the first tile in a turn is known as the leader. The next player who plays a domino must match it with an existing double, and must play this onto the leader’s tile to continue the line of play.

Some sets of dominoes are made from natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony. These sets are more expensive than those that are manufactured from polymer, but they have the advantage of being durable and attractive to look at.

Many different games can be played with a domino, but most fall into one of four categories: blocking, scoring, and round games. If a domino is blocked, no other players are able to make a play and the game ends. In some games, a player may draw more dominoes for his hand than he is entitled to; this is referred to as an overdraw. When this occurs, the extra dominoes are returned to the stock and reshuffled before the next player draws his hand.