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The Many Uses of Domino

Domino, also known as dominoes or stones, are small, rectangular blocks used as gaming objects. They are normally twice as long as they are wide, and have a line in the middle to divide them visually into two squares. Each of the squares bears an arrangement of dots, called pips, similar to those on a die. Some squares are blank (indicated on the list below by a zero). Dominoes are used to play a variety of games that involve positioning the pieces on the table such that the end of one tile touches the end of another. The pieces then slide or “dominate” one another to form chains that advance in length until each player is able to play their tile.

Dominoes are one of the oldest tools for game playing. Like their cousins, cards, they allow for a variety of fun and challenging games, and help build math and motor skills. There are even professional domino players who compete in events like the prestigious Domino World Championships, and set up elaborate domino setups for a live audience.

While the majority of dominoes are used to play positional games, some types are designed for other purposes, such as scoring or blocking. Some of these are played by taking turns until a player is unable to play, while others are played to a specific goal, such as reaching a certain number of points.

When a player is unable to play a piece, they “chip out,” meaning they leave their domino on the table while the other player may continue to play. When all chips have been exhausted, play stops and the winning players are those with the lowest combined sum of the pips in their remaining pieces.

A more creative use of domino is found in the art of constructing a domino rally, a line of carefully positioned dominoes in a straight or curved line that all eventually topple over. The skill required to do this requires patience, practice and the right tools. Nick Hevesh, an amateur woodworker and domino enthusiast, has developed a technique to make these elaborate arrangements using the tools in his grandmother’s garage, including a drill press, radial arm saw, scroll saw and belt sander. Hevesh has been featured on television and in magazines for her amazing work, and also builds domino sets for movies, TV shows and events.

The domino effect is a well-known phenomenon whereby one action leads to a chain reaction of other actions with increasing, but often unpredictable, consequences. Whether you are a pantser, writing a manuscript without an outline, or a plotter, considering the domino effect will help you keep your story moving. After all, if your characters aren’t reacting to the scene you have set up, it is likely that readers will start tuning out or will find something more interesting to read.