The Exciting Game of Domino
Domino has a long history of use and many varieties. People of all ages enjoy stacking the flat, thumb-sized pieces in long lines and then knocking them down. The stacked dominoes are also sometimes used to create intricate designs and structures.
The name comes from the fact that, when tipped over, each piece causes the next one to tip, and so on, until the whole chain collapses in a cascade of events that can be quite dramatic. This idea of a simple action having much greater consequences is the origin of the popular phrase “domino effect.”
As with playing cards, of which they are a variant, each domino has a set of identifying marks on either side. These are called pips or dots; they can be either white or black, and they may be arranged in various combinations, depending on the type of domino. Most commonly, a domino has an arrangement of six pips. The value of each domino is indicated by its position in a set and by the number of the pips on its adjacent pieces.
Most of us have played with dominoes, or at least watched others play them. Kids love the simple excitement of starting a line with just one domino and then watching it fall, one tile at a time. Adults may even play dominoes for competition, where points are scored for certain sequences of events.
Some of the more elaborate domino setups are created by professional artists, such as Hevesh, whose YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers. She has built domino chains in stadiums and for movie and TV premieres, and her work has even been featured on a album launch by pop star Katy Perry.
While a set of dominoes can be constructed from polymer or other inexpensive materials, more expensive sets are often made of natural, more durable, and/or attractive materials. For example, some sets are constructed of bone or silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips. These sets are usually crafted by hand, and are therefore more costly than those made of polymer.
More recently, domino sets have been produced in high-quality materials such as marble and granite; soapstone; woods including walnut, sycamore, and mahogany; metals including brass and pewter; and ceramic clay or glass. These sets tend to be heavier than those of polymer or other non-durable materials, and their construction costs are generally higher, but they offer a more attractive look and a more substantial feel to the touch. Many people find that the novelty and beauty of these more-expensive dominoes make them well worth the extra cost.