What is Domino?

Domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, the face of which is divided into halves, each half bearing from one to six pips (or dots) resembling those on dice. The most common domino set consists of 28 such pieces, although some sets have more or less than that number. A game played with such a set involves matching the ends of two tiles and then laying them down in lines or angular patterns. A person who plays dominoes is sometimes called a player or a dominator. The word also may refer to a costume consisting of a hooded robe worn together with an eye mask at a masquerade or carnival season.

In business, a domino effect occurs when one event triggers another in a chain reaction. For example, a change in leadership can have a ripple effect on employees that eventually leads to a decline in the company’s bottom line. Such an impact is often difficult to reverse and can be felt by shareholders, customers, and suppliers.

The idea of a domino effect has been used in storytelling for years, as well. In fiction, a domino effect can be a character’s action or inaction that affects the outcome of a scene. In nonfiction, it can be a point of view or perspective that shapes an argument or storyline. For example, a story about the collapse of Domino’s Pizza in 2004 might focus on how changes in leadership caused the company to slide into debt.

In a domino game, each player draws a set of tiles and then places them in front of him or her. Each tile has a number on each end, and the first player to place his or hers begins play. Depending on the game, players draw their tiles randomly or in accordance with some other rule, such as choosing who goes first by drawing lots or by determining who holds the heaviest hand. Once the tiles are placed on the table, each player can see the value of his or her own, but none can see the values of the other players’ tiles.

When a player plays a domino, it must be placed adjacent to any existing tiles that have the same color or pips as its matching end. Typically, each player will also make a note of the total number of pips on his or her remaining tiles and try to limit the total to a certain number. The winner is the player who finishes his or her dominoes with the least total number of pips.

Because the bottoms of dominoes slip against each other and the surface they’re on, they create friction. This energy is converted into heat and sound, and when a domino moves from its upright position, it carries this potential energy with it. As it falls, much of this energy is converted into kinetic energy that causes the next domino in the row to fall. The process continues until all the dominoes have fallen, and the last domino may “knock” over other dominoes that have already been positioned.