Dominoes – A Game of Skill and Chance


The domino is a small, flat rectangular block used as a gaming object. It is made of a rigid material, often wood or bone and may also be known as bones, cards, men, pieces or tiles. Each domino has a line running down the center to divide it visually into two squares, each marked with an arrangement of dots or pips that are arranged differently on each side. The pips are what gives the domino its value. Dominoes are used in games of skill and chance where the goal is to lay down all of a player’s tiles. Once the entire set of tiles is played, either by the end of a game or by a predetermined amount of time, the accumulated value of the set is scored.

In addition to the traditional blocking and scoring games, there are many other types of domino play. For example, some people enjoy trying to arrange a pattern on the floor, while others enjoy placing tiles in a snake-line formation at random. Many domino puzzles exist that are based on the arithmetic properties of the pips, such as totals of lines and tile halves. The domino game moved from Italy to France in the early 18th Century, where it became a fad. The word “domino” originally denoted a long hooded cloak worn with a mask at carnival season or in masquerade. This sense of the word was replaced in the late 18th Century by a sense that linked it to the black domino pieces and the white surplice worn by priests.

Most domino games are played by a number of players who draw their own tiles from the pool, or from another source such as a bag or box. The players then place their tiles on the edge of a table or other surface where all can see them. The first player begins by putting down one of his or her tiles on the table and then plays to that tile (or “knocks” it). Each subsequent tile played must fit in a vertical or horizontal position, depending on the rules of the game.

Each domino has a set of open ends that can be filled in with other tiles, creating a chain or a pattern on the ground. The open ends are determined by the values of the pips on each side of the tile. If the end of a tile matches the open ends of the next tile, it must be placed there. This way, a pattern can develop that is repeated as the domino chains grow.

When a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy, or the stored energy derived from its position on the table. This energy is converted to kinetic energy when the domino falls, and as the kinetic energy of other dominos converts to their own potential energy, the chain reaction continues until all the dominos have fallen. This is what makes the domino effect so amazing.