How to Play Dominoes

Dominoes are small rectangular wood or plastic blocks, with one face bearing identifying marks and the other blank or displaying an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. They are used in games that involve the falling of dominoes, or by themselves to create designs and structures. The word domino is derived from the Latin domini, meaning “ruler,” and was once used as a synonym for a long hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade.

In addition to the games played with them, dominoes can be arranged in various ways to make works of art, such as a curved line of dominoes that looks like a rainbow or stacked walls of the building that resembles a city skyline. This is often done to attract attention to a business or organization, such as a charity event or a public building.

The most popular type of domino play involves layout games, which fall into two broad categories: blocking games and scoring games. Blocking games are characterized by the use of specific tiles to form a chain that must be followed by other tiles in order to complete a play, and by rules governing how those tiles may be used in the game. A scoring game allows the players to score points by arranging the tiles in ways that achieve particular combinations.

Each domino has a value based on the number of pips it features, with each side of a domino featuring either a single, double or no pips (referred to as blank). The pips on a given tile indicate what suit it belongs to, and some large domino sets have more easily readable Arabic numerals instead of pips.

When playing a domino game, the player must draw as many tiles as specified by the rules of the game. Generally, a player who holds the highest double begins play. If no player holds a double, the winner of the last game plays the first tile.

A player must place a domino into the game as instructed by the rules of the particular game being played. The domino must be positioned so that both matching ends are touching. If the domino is a double, then it must be placed crosswise, with the matching sides of the two halves of the tile touching each other.

The domino effect refers to any action that causes a series of other actions, as in the example of water that tips over the edge of a glass and creates a wave in the same direction. Taking the time to do something positive in your life, such as making your bed or saying hello to a neighbor, can have a ripple effect that makes things better for you and those around you.

Those who have seen a domino effect in person know that it can be breathtaking. The smallest action, when properly executed, can result in a domino effect that leads to much greater–and sometimes catastrophic–consequences.