What is Domino?

Domino is a family of games that feature a series of flat tiles with numbers or letters on them. The tiles are used to make a sequence of rows that add up to a specified total. Each player places a domino in turn, positioning it so that the ends of the adjacent tiles match: a “one” touches a “one,” or a “two” touches a “two.” The resulting chain may then be added to with other dominos, which are called jacks because they have two matching ends, or left alone for later play.

Dominoes can be played in a variety of ways, and the underlying mathematics are interesting. There are scoring games such as bergen and muggins that use a domino’s pips (spots) for counting purposes, blocking games such as matador and chicken foot, and even games that duplicate card games—which were popular in certain areas to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards.

The earliest known dominoes came from Asia; however, the game arrived in Europe in the 18th Century, probably via France. The name is thought to be derived from the Latin dominus, meaning master of the house. The word eventually became the French domine and then the English domino. It is also possible that the word may have been derived from the name of a type of monastic hood.

Each domino has a unique set of pips that determines the suit it belongs to. For example, a tile with three pips on one half and five on the other is part of the “3” suit. Doubles belong to one suit only and are referred to as doublets; singles belong to two suits. A domino with a blank side is also considered a single, and some people choose to use it as a wild tile or assign any value to it.

In the 19th Century, people began to create domino puzzles. These were based on the arithmetic properties of the pips and required placing dominoes in a specific pattern to meet a specific goal. This was a popular way to introduce children to arithmetic and problem-solving skills.

Dominos are still played all over the world, and they are also a part of many popular events. A domino show, for instance, features hundreds or thousands of dominoes lined up and ready to topple with the nudge of just one. This kind of display is a nail-biting spectacle, especially if the dominoes are so large that it takes several minutes for them to fall.

When it comes to writing fiction, the domino effect is a powerful tool for building suspense and tension. Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or follow a meticulous outline, it’s useful to think of every plot beat as a domino. You can’t control the big picture, but you can control how the scene is built. And the more carefully placed your dominoes are, the greater the impact when they fall in a satisfying pattern. Good luck!