What is Domino?

Domino is a small rectangular block used in games of chance, skill, and strategy. Its face is divided into two parts, each bearing from one to six pips or dots (like those on dice). A complete set of dominoes contains 28 such pieces. Depending on the game, dominoes may be matched by their ends or placed in lines and angular patterns. The name derives from the fact that when one domino is laid, it usually causes others to fall in a similar fashion – hence the term domino effect.

Most dominoes are white with black dots, though some sets are coloured. They are typically made of wood or polymer, but can also be crafted from stone (e.g., marble or soapstone), metal (e.g., brass or pewter), ceramic clay, and other materials. Traditionally, domino sets were made from a material that gave them a richer, more substantial feel: bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or ebony, with contrasting pips inlaid or painted in black or white. Such natural materials tend to be more expensive than polymer dominoes, but can add to the entertainment value of the sets.

Many games can be played with dominoes, although the most common are blocking and scoring games. Blocking games, for example, require that a player match the end of his or her domino to a domino already on the table, thereby triggering one or more other pieces to fall down in a chain. These chains can range from a simple line to a massive pyramid. Other types of games that use dominoes include a number of solitaire and trick-taking games based on the rules of poker. Many of these were once popular in some regions because they circumvented religious proscriptions against playing cards.

A more casual and relaxing use of dominoes involves simply laying them down in order to form attractive or artistic designs on the floor. This can provide a pleasant diversion for groups of people who wish to socialize or simply pass the time. A dominoes pattern can also serve as an educational tool, encouraging children to build a series of shapes or letters.

You’ve probably seen a video of a person setting up a long row of dominoes and then knocking them all down in one satisfying swoop. The resulting chains can be quite elaborate and beautiful, and they are a great way to exercise motor skills and improve balance.

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