The Basics of Dominoes

A small rectangular wooden or plastic block, the face of which is marked with an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. It is blank or identically patterned on the other side. Dominoes may be used for games that involve positioning or forming lines of tiles, or for scoring arithmetic sums. Also called dominoes and Domino.

The most common commercially available domino sets are double six (with 28 tiles) and double nine (55 tiles). Larger sets do exist, but are often used for special purposes such as constructing domino art or in layout games.

Each tile in a set has a number of spots, or dominos, on its face which correspond to the numbers 1 through 9. The number of dominos on each end is called its suit. A domino that has a single suit is sometimes referred to as a singleton. A domino with two suits is a doubloon.

When you play a game with dominoes, each player must place one bone on a line of bones that has a matching end, either an open or a closed end. This is done by placing the domino in such a way that its pips match up with those on adjacent bones, or by playing a bone that matches an existing end on a domino line. This procedure is also known as setting, leading, or posing the first bone.

As soon as the first domino is positioned, it becomes possible to continue adding more and more pieces to the line until the final result is what you want. The number of dominoes required depends on the type of game and the rules you are using.

Dominoes can be arranged to form straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, or 3D structures such as towers and pyramids. They can even be stacked to form a wall. When a domino is tripped, it falls over and creates more dominoes, causing a chain reaction that can have far-reaching consequences.

In fiction, the term domino effect refers to a situation in which a minor action has the potential to trigger a series of events that affect a larger area or group. In writing, an example would be a character’s reaction to a tragedy that can cause a domino effect in other characters.

Whether you write off the cuff or follow a meticulous outline, if your characters can be described as dominoes in your plot, then your manuscript has a good chance of standing up to the test of time. As you begin your novel, consider how you can make the most of this concept. After all, plotting a novel comes down to a basic question: what happens next? How can you get your characters to fall over in the right order? The answer is in your plan. Whether you call it an outline or a storyboard, this plan is the foundation for your story. And the more solid your foundation, the better.