The Basics of Domino

Domino, a game of skill and strategy played with rectangular tiles that are either blank or identically patterned on both sides, has fascinated people around the world for centuries. It is a symbol of camaraderie and competition in many cultures, and it can be used to teach social skills and basic mathematics. The word domino derives from the Latin dominium, meaning “a table.” The first known mention of this game in English was in 1614. Its name may have been influenced by the earlier sense of the word domino, which referred to a long hooded cloak worn with a mask at carnival season or at a masquerade.

In most games of domino, each player plays a tile on the table that touches an open end of a line of previously played tiles. This configuration is called the layout, string, or line of play. As each new tile is added, the number of pips on each open end increases. A player who has a double (or, in some cases, a spinner) on the layout can add it to the line of play with one or more of its sides, depending on the rules of the game.

A tile that has a matching number on both ends of the line of play is called a match. When a new tile is added to the line of play, its number must be counted, or tracked, by all players to determine its value and whether it will have an impact on the score. The most common domino sets have 28 tiles, with double-six being the most popular. There are also “extended” sets that have more than twice as many tiles and introduce extra pips on the ends, but these are not as popular.

There are numerous games of domino that differ in the ways they are played and how they affect the score. However, most of the games can be grouped into two categories: blocking and scoring games.

The winner of a game of domino is the person who has the most pips remaining on all his or her tiles. In some games, the winner of the last game starts the next, and in others, the person who played the highest-valued tile takes the lead for the next round.

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