The Basics of Dominoes


Dominoes are small blocks of wood with groups of spots on one side. They are used for playing many different games, and when one domino topples another, it sets off a chain reaction that can continue down the line until all of the dominoes have fallen. This is similar to how nerve impulses travel from the brain to the end of a nerve cell.

The most popular domino game is Draw, where players start with a number of tiles equal to the amount of people playing. Players take turns placing a domino adjacent to the first doublet that has already been played. A player cannot place a domino unless there are matching values in his hand or in the boneyard. After a player cannot place any more dominoes, he must pass his turn to the next person.

Each domino has two sides, or ends, and a value is assigned to each of these. The pips on each end range from six down to none or blank, and the total of these numbers is the domino’s rank. A domino is normally twice as long as it is wide. This makes it easier to stack them vertically and re-stack them later.

There are many different variations of domino, but most involve emptying a player’s hand while blocking opponents’ play. Some are scoring games such as bergen and muggins, while others require a blocking strategy, such as matador, chicken foot, and Mexican train. Most domino games are educational, teaching math skills and counting.

Some of the earliest recorded domino games date back to the 1300s in China, where dominoes were functionally identical to playing cards. The markings on dominoes, known as pips, originally represented the results of throwing two six-sided dice. Later, they were adapted to represent Arabic numerals.

The most common domino set has 91 tiles, and four players would take 12 each at the beginning of a game. Occasionally, larger dominoes are available; these are called extended sets and increase the maximum number of pips on an end by three. Most extended sets are double-twelve or double-nine.

A domino’s potential energy is stored in its position upright, and when it falls, much of this energy is converted to kinetic energy. This is similar to the way that a nerve impulse moves at a constant speed and loses energy only as it travels down a nerve cell’s axon.

When Hevesh began playing with dominoes as a child, she loved to arrange them in straight or curved lines and then flick them so that the whole line fell. Now, at age 20, she is a professional domino artist who creates intricate setups for movies, television shows, and events, and posts videos of her work on YouTube.

Whether you write using a detailed outline or simply let your character guide the plot, the success of your novel depends on your ability to move forward at the right time and place and to keep the tension high. Like a domino effect, each scene you write should have a clear impact on the scene that follows.