# The Fun of Dominoes

Dominoes are small rectangular blocks used as gaming pieces. A domino set is typically double-sided to allow the players to place tiles side by side and produce chains of alternating colors or numbers. Each tile has a value, usually represented by dots or other markings, known as pips. These pips may represent the results of throwing a die, or they might be blank or have no value at all (as in the case of a double-blank). When the number on a domino matches the total of the exposed ends of a chain, a player earns points. The first player to earn a specified number of points in a given round wins the game.

Domino games require a certain amount of planning, strategy, and calculation. They can be as simple or as complex as the players wish, and they are an excellent way to teach children math skills. There are many different types of domino games, but most involve emptying one’s hand while blocking opponents’ play. Some are scoring games (bergen and muggins) and others are block games like matador, Mexican train, and chicken foot.

The most popular domino game, however, is the draw game. In this game, each player takes a set of dominoes (typically seven) and puts them on the table with the unused ones lying “sleeping” on either side. The players then take turns placing the rest of their dominoes so that the matched ends are touching, with an emphasis on the fact that the ends are not open or facing away from each other. The resulting chain of a single color, or a sequence of colors, is then built up as the playing continues.

This type of play is also excellent for teaching children counting and matching skills, as well as the concepts of probability and order. The most important point to remember when playing any domino game is that all the pips must match (one’s touch one’s, two’s touch two’s, and so on). Each time this happens, a new tile is added to the chain, producing a new shape and a new pattern of connections.

Aside from purely entertainment value, the ability to build and create a variety of shapes is an important reason why dominoes continue to be popular. This sort of creativity demonstrates how a simple toy can endure for centuries as a source of fun, excitement, and learning.

The domino effect can be used to refer to any event or situation that produces a series of collisions in the same way as if it were a series of dominoes falling over. This term is often used in business and politics, as a way of emphasizing the cascading effects of decisions or actions. It is also used to describe the mechanical domino effect, which can be exploited in Rube Goldberg machines. The most common use, however, is to highlight the fact that any chain reaction can be stopped by removing just one of the dominoes at the top of the stack.