# The Domino Effect

Domino is a game with a very simple principle: One domino knocks over another. But when you really look at it, there’s a lot more going on than that. The first domino carries its own little store of energy, and when it is pushed just the slightest bit, it releases a wave that can knock over something many times its size. The physics of this phenomenon is fascinating. It’s what we call the Domino Effect.

A domino is a flat thumb-sized rectangular tile with one side bearing an arrangement of dots or pips, and the other blank or identically patterned to the former. 28 such tiles form a full set. Known also as bones, cards, men, or pieces, dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide. They are sometimes stacked in rows or angled and used to play games in which players mark their scores by counting the number of spots on both ends of each tile or on all sides of a double (e.g., 4-4 counts as four points).

Nearly all domino games fit into one of four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games and round games. Most of these are played by two or more players, with the winner being determined by either the value of the accumulated score or the highest value domino in each player’s hand at the end of the hand or game. Some games allow for byes, wherein a losing player may forfeit the remainder of his or her score to the winner.

Before a game begins, the dominoes are arranged on the table. Then, each player draws the number of dominoes from the stock that he is permitted to take according to the rules of the game. The heaviest domino in each player’s hand makes the first play. In some games, a tie is broken by drawing additional tiles from the stock and adding them to the ones drawn.

Generally, a player must match his or her own domino to the other players’ in order to make a play. For this reason, it’s a good idea to play on a hard surface and try to keep the dominoes standing upright. It also helps if the players are seated at opposite sides of the table so that they can see each other’s hands.

If a player cannot match his or her own domino to an existing tile, the only option is to pass until another player can make a play. This is often called a misplay. If a mistake is discovered before the next player makes his or her move, the player must recall that domino and reposition it. If a mistake is not discovered before the next player’s turn, the mistake stands and the incorrect tile remains in place.

The most common domino game uses a double-six set of dominoes, and players draw seven dominoes from the stock to begin the game. The game is played with two players initially and then expands to four or more as the available sleeping dominoes are picked up by each player.