Domino – The Game of Chain Reactions


Domino is the classic game of placing tiles in a line and flicking them so they all fall, one after the other. It’s a simple and satisfying game, but it has been used to build amazing structures and to explore the laws of inertia. Domino also has become a metaphor for chain reactions in the real world. Whether it’s a business turnaround or a terrorist attack, the domino effect is when one event triggers a series of events that have far-reaching consequences.

A domino is a rectangular tile with a number of dots (pips) on either side. It is twice as long as it is wide, and most sets have 28 tiles that are arranged face down to form the domino stock or boneyard. A single set can be enough to play most domino games, but some players use extended sets that include more tiles or have higher numbers of pips on each end.

There are many different types of domino games, and each game has its own rules. Most involve emptying a player’s hand and blocking opponents’ play. Some have scoring systems such as bergen and muggins or duplicate card games like Mexican train. A few games teach math skills, such as adding and subtracting.

The word domino is derived from the Latin for “sequence” or “chain”. In English, it has been in use since the early 18th Century. The word and the game moved from Italy to France in that period and became a popular fad. There are some theories that the name was based on the earlier sense of domino as a black hood worn with a white surplice over a priest’s headpiece.

The most common domino game involves two players using a double-six set. The stock is shuffled and each player draws seven tiles. The player who has the highest matching domino in his or her hand leads, and each other player must then play a tile until an opening double is played. If no one has an opening double, the next highest domino is called – for example “double-six” and so on.

Some people enjoy building domino structures, including straight and curved lines of the tiles, or circles, hexagons, or other shapes. Some people even compete to see who can create the most complex structure in a limited time.

When playing a domino game, the tiles are set up on a flat surface, usually a table or other sturdy surface. The first tile is placed on top of a lower domino, which should be aligned with the edges of the other tiles so they are stable and can’t slip or slide. Then the other dominoes are arranged in a row with each one touching the edge of the first.

If you move or knock over one domino, it will push down the rest of the pieces, creating a sequence that goes on for as long as there are dominoes to be pushed. The force of the domino pushing down the rest is greater than the force that was exerted to knock over the first piece. The same principle applies to human behavior: One small nudge can have a large effect on the next person in the chain. The domino effect is also a metaphor for chain reactions in the real-world, such as economic collapse or war.