The Basics of Dominoes


Dominoes are a versatile tool that allow players to enjoy a multitude of games and tests of skill. They are cousins of playing cards and were developed in China around the 1300s. Dominoes are recognizable by their pips or dots, which represent the results of throwing two six-sided dice. When a domino is flipped over, it reveals the next domino in the line and creates a chain of play that ends when all the exposed ends show the same number, called the “spinner.”

Originally dominoes were fashioned from ivory, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl), or a dark wood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips. While plastic domino sets are the norm today, many still prefer the feel and look of a traditional set made from natural materials. A variety of different materials have been used to make dominoes: stones (such as marble, granite or soapstone); other woods (such as acacia, cherry, oak, and redwood); metals (such as brass or pewter); ceramic clay; and even glass and crystal.

Like playing cards, which they are a variant of, dominoes are typically twice as long as wide and feature a line or ridge in the center to divide them visually into two squares. Each of these squares bears an arrangement of pips, or dots, similar to those on a die. The other squares are blank or identically patterned. The number of pips on a domino gives it a value, which determines its rank or weight. A higher number means a stronger domino, while a lower number indicates a lighter domino.

To play domino, each player begins by drawing seven tiles from the stock or boneyard and placing them on the table. The first player (determined by either drawing lots or by who holds the heaviest hand) then plays one of his or her tiles onto the table, positioning it so that it touches the end of the previously played tile. Each subsequent player then plays a tile on top of the previous tile, positioning it so that its ends display a number which is useful to him or her and distasteful to the opposing players.

Good dominoes are tasks that contribute to a larger goal and that require a large chunk of time and focus to complete. These tasks should be clear and achievable, but not easy. They may also be daunting, but if you break them down into smaller tasks, they become more manageable. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, your dominoes might include outlining your financial plan, developing healthy meal options, and exercising regularly.

Whether you write your manuscript off the cuff or create an elaborate outline, writing a novel comes down to answering the same question: what happens next? If you want to keep your readers interested, you need to know how to build an interesting plot. Consider using the domino effect in your writing to make the story more dynamic and exciting.

The Basics of Dominoes
Scroll to top