A domino is a small rectangular block of wood or plastic with a face marked by dots resembling those on dice. When a domino is pushed onto a line of other dominoes, the other dominoes fall in a cascade of movement. Dominoes are often used as toys, but they can also be used to play a variety of games.
Dominoes are commonly played with a double-six set, although other sets may be used. Each domino has a value, which is determined by the number of spots or pips on each end of the tile. Two ends match if they have the same number of matching pips, and when a domino is played to an adjacent double, it must be placed squarely across both of its matching sides. The shape of the resulting chain, which develops into a snake-line according to the rules of each game, provides much of the enjoyment of playing with dominoes.
Because dominoes are unmoving when not pushed on, they have inertia, which means that they resist motion until some outside force pushes them. A fingertip nudge is enough to tip a single domino over, and once that first domino falls, it converts some of its potential energy into kinetic energy, the energy of motion, which then causes other dominoes to fall. The process is similar to the way that a nerve impulse travels down a neuron, which can cause other neurons in the brain to fire and produce a pulse of electrical activity.
In the game of domino, each player places a domino in a row along a long table or other surface. When a player can no longer place a new domino, he or she raps the table and passes play to the next player. Generally, the goal of the game is to build a domino chain that reaches the edge of the table, with no remaining uncovered tiles. Some players play for points, while others simply enjoy the thrill of trying to build a spectacular sculpture with their dominoes.
Aside from games that involve building shapes with a domino chain, most domino games are played by placing dominoes in rows to make patterns or lines. Some of these are adaptations of card games, which were popular in some regions to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards. Many of these games were also developed to train the mind and enhance motor skills.
Dominoes can be used in a wide range of games, from simple blocking or scoring to complex strategic ones that require planning and memorizing the rules of each game. They are a popular classroom learning tool and an effective way to practice counting. Many schools are incorporating dominoes into their curricula as well, recognizing the benefits of learning by doing and the importance of repetition to memorizing facts.
Aside from their educational applications, dominoes are also being used to improve business efficiency. For example, Domino’s has built a custom pizza delivery van to speed up delivery times and is experimenting with robots and drones for pizza-delivery purposes. These types of innovations demonstrate the ability of a small domino to spark an entire chain reaction that can have a significant impact on a business or an industry.