Domino – A Game of Intricate Patterns
Domino is a tile game that consists of flat tiles with matching patterns on both sides. Each domino has a number of dots or spots, similar to those on a die, which determines its identity. These are arranged in a specific pattern on each of the four ends of a domino, and the opposite face is blank or identically patterned. The game can be played with a variety of different rules and formats. Some are scoring games, such as bergen and muggins, which award points to the losing player by counting the pips (spots on a domino) in the defeated tiles. Others are blocking games, such as matador, chicken foot and Mexican train, where players compete to prevent other players from completing their hands.
The basic idea of domino is that a simple action can lead to a series of events, like falling dominoes, that have much greater–and sometimes catastrophic–consequences than the original act. Stacking the dominoes on end in long lines allows for very intricate patterns to be made. When one domino is tipped over, it triggers the next domino in line to tip and so on. This can result in a massive buildup of dominoes that eventually topple over, forming a chain reaction. Domino is also a popular toy for children who can use it to create intricate designs or play games that require precise hand movements and patience.
Traditionally, domino sets have been made from bone or ivory or from dark hardwoods such as ebony and mahogany with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted on. More recently, polymer materials have been used in the manufacture of domino sets. While these have a more modern appearance, many collectors prefer the classic look of wooden sets. Some domino sets are even carved out of exotic woods or stone and can be extremely expensive.
Most domino games involve positioning a single domino edge to edge against another in a way that the exposed ends of the two tiles match: one’s touch two’s, and two’s touch one’s. A domino with all four exposed ends is considered “double,” and additional tiles may be added to either side of the double, allowing for multiple matching sides.
Some games require that all the pips on a tile be connected to another, while others have rules for which combinations are valid. Generally, only the “open” ends of a domino are available for play; the other three sides can be used to form a set. Frequently, additional dominoes are placed cross-ways against the initial tile, producing open ends of both the right and left.
Some domino sets are designed to be displayed as art pieces. These can be curved lines, grids that form pictures when the dominoes fall and 3D structures such as towers and pyramids. A domino art design can be as simple or complex as the designer wishes, and some designers even make a living by creating intricate domino tracks. These are especially popular at fairs and other community gatherings where people can visit the display and try their hand at domino art themselves.