Domino is a family of tile-based games that uses gaming pieces with a number of pips or spots (also known as ‘pips’ or ‘dots’). Each domino has an identity-bearing face that is divided into two square ends by a line, and each end has a different number of pips or spots. The game is played by laying down the tiles in lines and angular patterns, or by matching the pips on one side of each domino to the pips on the other side.
Originally developed in Europe, dominoes have an important place in American culture. They are often used in the classic game of block-and-draw, where a “double six” set of 28 dominoes is shuffled face down and each player chooses seven of them. The player with the highest total pip count wins the game.
The game of block-and-draw has remained the dominant form of domino play in the United States and other Western countries, as it is easy to learn and is quick to play. It can also be played in other ways, such as a solitaire game or a trick-taking game.
A typical game of block-and-draw uses a set of 28 dominoes, the most basic of which is called a double six set because it has six pips on each end. To win the game, each player must place a domino next to a domino previously played by another player. The highest-value piece must have the same number of pips as one of the other player’s pieces.
Other types of dominoes include a double-four set, where the highest-value piece has four pips on each end; a triple-six set, where the highest-value piece has three pips on each end; and a double-nine set, where the highest-value piece has nine pips on each end. A set may also include a single-six piece, which has a single pip on each end and is often considered to have fewer pips than the rest of the set.
The traditional European domino set consists of 28 pieces, which are arranged as in a dice game, with each spot from one to six marked on each end. These sets differ from those in China, where a set of 32 pieces is arranged to represent each possible face of two thrown dice.
This difference in the markings of these dominoes explains why Chinese dominoes have no military-civilian distinctions or duplicates. They also differ from the Western set, which is a double-six set, because each blank end has no pips or spots.
During the late 18th century, a Chinese version of dominoes appeared in Europe. These are sometimes called pupai and are pronounced “pu-pai.”
A great way to understand the effects of gravity is to think about the dominoes that tangle up Hevesh’s displays. When she stands a domino upright, it lifts against the pull of gravity, and some of that potential energy is stored.
But when she lets them fall, that stored energy is released and converted to kinetic energy, the energy of motion. This creates a domino chain reaction, which eventually knocks over the dominoes that were standing where Hevesh placed them.