The Domino Effect


The domino effect describes the way in which one event can cause a series of events to occur. This concept applies to many areas of life, from business strategy to writing fiction. It is a useful tool for writers because it helps them to plot their work in a way that will create suspense for the reader. For example, if a character is stranded on an island, then the writer should plan to have this character meet with the main character at some point in order to explain the situation and set up the conflict that will be resolved by the end of the story.

Dominoes are small, flat rectangular blocks used as gaming pieces, sometimes called bones, cards, men, or pieces. They feature a line in the middle to divide them visually into two squares, each bearing an arrangement of dots or “pips” like those on a die. Each domino has an identifying mark on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. Dominoes can be used for a wide variety of games with different rules.

There are many different ways to arrange dominoes on a table, including straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, and 3D structures like pyramids. The most important element is to plan out your design on paper before attempting it. This can take several nail-biting minutes because dominoes have inertia, a tendency to resist motion unless pushed against. When a domino is pushed past its tipping point, it has the potential to create a chain reaction that will topple thousands of other dominoes.

Some dominoes have matching numbers on each side, but most of them have a blank side. Each tile belongs to one of two suits—suits of numbered tiles, each having a different value from seven up to zero (indicated as the “blank” suit). Each suit has its own color—blue for the “threes,” red for the “fives,” and black for the “zeroes.”

While most domino games are played with a standard double-six set comprising 28 tiles, larger sets exist for use in more complex games. Larger domino sets have more ends with more pips on each end, increasing the total number of possible combinations.

The most popular types of domino play are blocking and scoring games, but there are also solitaire and trick-taking games that are based on the basic principle of a chain reaction. Some of these games were developed as an alternative to card games when religious prohibitions forbid the use of cards. In the Block game, each player begins with a certain amount of dominoes. When a player cannot place a domino, they must pass their turn to another player. The Draw game is a variation on the Block game, but with fewer dominoes at the start. Players pass turns until all of the sleeping dominoes are gone. The remaining players then compete to build the largest domino layout possible.