The Basics of Dominoes


Dominoes are small square pieces that form the basis of many popular games. They can be lined up in long rows to form geometric shapes, used to make 3D structures like towers and pyramids, or thrown down to create an artistic display. Some people even use them to teach their children number recognition and counting skills by lining up dominoes and knocking them over. The term domino is also sometimes used to refer to a chain reaction that begins with one person, then influences others.

Some of the most well-known domino games are based on positioning the tiles edge to edge against each other. The tiles must show a number on both ends, or be doubles (with matching numbers on the exposed edges). A player may only play a domino that touches either of these end points, or the tile immediately preceding it. If a domino is played that results in both ends showing the same number, it is said to be “stitched up.”

When you pick up a domino and hold it upright, it stores potential energy in its position against gravity’s pull. When the domino is tripped over, much of this energy is converted to kinetic energy, which causes other dominoes to fall over as well. This creates a domino effect that continues until the entire set of dominoes has fallen over.

The most common type of dominoes are made from polymer, but some sets are handmade from more luxurious materials. For example, some domino sets are made from silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (“mother of pearl” or MOP), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony. These types of dominoes are generally more expensive than those made from polymer.

In addition to playing the traditional positional games, dominoes are also often used for scoring and pattern-matching. In scoring games, players try to win by making a line of dominoes from one end of the board to the other, or in a crossword puzzle-like pattern. The most common scoring dominoes have a maximum of five dots on each end. However, some dominoes are available with more or less than five dots on each end.

Many people use dominoes to decorate their homes and gardens. They can be placed in lines or stacked in 3D structures to create geometric patterns, and are also used as a centerpiece on a table. They can be painted with colorful graphics, or even shaped into animals, vehicles, and food. Some people even use them to create a domino art.

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