Domino is a game in which players compete to build lines of tiles that fall down. They may be arranged in straight or curved rows. Some people like to make elaborate setups for their dominoes, and there are even professional domino artists. This month’s Wonder of the Day is inspired by Hevesh5, a YouTuber who has amassed more than 2 million subscribers by creating spectacular domino art.
A domino is a rectangular tile with identifying marks on one face and blank or identically patterned on the other. The identifying marks are small dots, called pips, that look very much like the dots on a die. A domino is also marked with a line or ridge that separates the two faces. Typically, each domino has either three or six pips. Some dominoes are marked with only a single pip.
Traditionally, dominoes are made from natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or dark hardwoods such as ebony. These sets have a traditional, elegant look and feel more substantial than their polymer counterparts. Historically, some European-style sets have been carved from stone such as marble, granite, or soapstone; others have been cast in metals like pewter; and still others have been inlaid with ceramic clay or glass.
The simplest domino set contains 28 tiles. It’s easy to get started with this basic set, which can be found at most toy stores. Once a child has built a few sets of dominoes, he or she can explore a variety of games.
In a game of domino, each player draws a hand of dominoes and then places them in front of him or her on the table. Usually, a player begins by placing a domino with a matching value on an open end of the layout. Then, if possible, the player matches that domino with another of the same value. If no matches can be made, the player “knocks” or raps the table and play passes to his or her opponent.
As the number of dominoes in a layout increases, it becomes more difficult to match ends. Consequently, most domino sets are extended with additional tiles. These new pieces have more pips and, therefore, can be connected in more ways. The most common expanded sets are double-nine and double-12, which contain 55 and 91 tiles, respectively.
Although domino is a fun and educational game, some of its rules can be complicated. For example, if a player has no tiles with a certain combination of pips, he or she cannot take a turn until someone else lays down a tile that can be matched. This is a common way to prevent the same player from dominating the entire table. For this reason, it’s important to play on a hard surface, so that it is easier to stand the dominoes upright on their edges. This will make it easier to see the numbers on each domino and to identify matching sides of other tiles.