Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks of rigid material used as gaming pieces. They may also be referred to as bones, stones, men, tiles, or cards. They can be made of wood, bone, or polymer and are sometimes coated with an enamel or plastic to protect them from damage or wear. Western dominoes date to the mid-18th century, although there are references to them earlier.
The word “domino” derives from a Latin term meaning “falling forward.” A domino can also refer to an action or series of actions that cause other related actions to happen. For example, if you increase the amount of time you spend on your hobby, you might find that your nutrition habits improve as a side effect. This is known as the domino effect.
In a domino game, players set up a line of dominoes in a straight or curved row and then flip the first one so that it touches every other domino along its length. The remaining dominoes then fall in a cascade of rhythmic movement. In addition to being a fun way to pass the time, dominoes can also be used to create impressive domino art. This can be anything from a simple design of a domino track to 3D structures like towers or pyramids. A simple design can be created by laying out the dominoes on a flat surface and drawing arrows to show how they should fall.
A more complex domino design can be made by laying out the dominoes in a 3-D arrangement and then connecting them with lines of dominoes that connect each section. The sections can be as large or as small as the artist wishes. To ensure that the entire installation works correctly, the artist often makes a test version of each section. This can be filmed in slow motion so that the artist can make precise corrections before putting them all together.
The most common domino sets are manufactured from wood. However, there are some sets made of natural materials such as stone (e.g., marble, granite, or soapstone); other woods such as ebony or walnut; metals such as brass or pewter; and even ceramic clay. These sets are more expensive than those made of polymer, but they can have a more appealing look and feel to them.
The rules of a particular domino game determine how a player scores. Some games involve scoring by arranging the dominoes end to end so that the exposed ends match (one’s touching ones, two’s touching two’s, etc.). Then each domino in the line is scored if its dots total a multiple of five or more. Other games involve matching a number of dominoes by their numbers. For example, the dominoes of a game called “Concentration” are arranged so that any pair of two dominoes whose pips add up to 12 is considered to be a match.