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What Is Domino?

Domino is a flat, thumbsized rectangular block of wood or ivory, with a blank or identically patterned face and the identity-bearing side divided into two squares each bearing from one to six dots, or “pips.” Each domino also has a unique domino number printed on its reverse. A complete set of dominoes contains 28 such pieces. The name Domino is also applied to any of the various games played with them, such as bergen and muggins, in which players earn points by occupying adjacent squares or lines of the domino pattern.

When a person or organization is dealing with a problem that seems to grow out of control, it can sometimes seem that the situation has a “domino effect.” The situation grows so large that it is hard to contain, even if one attempt does succeed in stopping the growth. For example, an employee leaving a company can have a “domino effect” that sends several other employees out of work as well.

A domino set may include different types of tiles, and it is common for each type to have a distinct shape. The most popular types of dominoes are round and square. Some are even shaped like animals. The edges of each type of domino are typically smooth, and the pips, or dots, are often arranged in a specific way. Usually, the number of pips on each domino is a reflection of its rank in a particular game, although some games use different numbered pips and have no ranking at all.

Dominoes are played on a table, and the objective of the games is to build a chain or “line” of dominoes that eventually topples. A single player can win by forming this chain, and it is also possible to play with multiple players at once. In a game of bergen, for example, each player tries to empty his or her hand before opponents do, and the players who have done so are awarded points according to certain rules.

In addition to the fun of playing a domino game, learning the rules of a new game can help develop math skills and increase visual discrimination. Moreover, domino games can be an effective teaching tool for young children.

When a player places a domino, it is usually required that the adjacent ends of the two matching sides touch each other – for example, a one’s end touching a two’s end or a three’s end touching a four’s end. This helps to form a long, snake-line pattern that continues to grow in length as other tiles are played onto it. As the chain grows, it becomes more difficult to move the next tile without knocking over the whole chain. The energy that potential energy stored in the chains converts to kinetic energy as the first domino is moved and knocked over, and some of this energy is transferred to the next domino to cause it to fall. This is what makes domino so entertaining to watch in shows where skilled builders create a mind-blowing array of domino reactions and effects before an audience.