Domino – A Game and an Art

Domino is a term used to describe the cascading effect of one event colliding with another. This term can be applied literally (as in a series of physical dominoes that fall), or metaphorically (as in a chain reaction within a larger system such as global finance or political relations). A famous example of the latter is the Rube Goldberg machine, in which a simple sequence of events leads to an enormously complex and entertaining final result.

Domino, as a game and an art form, requires a precise combination of skill and timing. A good domino artist is able to plan out a layout of the desired effect, then arrange the pieces in such a way that they can be easily toppled by an impulse. Some of the simplest domino designs involve straight lines, while others are more elaborate. Some even involve 3-D structures such as towers and pyramids.

In a domino game, the first player starts by laying down a single tile, either face-up or upside down. Then each player adds to the layout in turn by laying tiles that match part of one end with part of the previous domino. The pips on the ends of each piece are counted, and chains of matching tiles build up. The resulting pile of overlapping tiles forms a “pile-up” and is then flipped over to reveal the results of the chain.

A domino is a rectangular block with multiple groups of dots in two colors, usually white and black, on one side. The other side is blank or carries only a small number of dots. The dominoes are arranged in a line on the table or other surface, and a single tile can knock them all over. The dominoes are used for a variety of games, from straightforward matching to complicated chains that require skill and concentration.

The word domino may have been derived from the Latin “dominum,” meaning “feet.” It originally denoted a long, hooded garment worn together with a mask at carnival season or at a masquerade. It later also referred to a cape worn by a priest over his surplice.

The traditional European-style dominoes are made of silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or dark hardwood such as ebony with a contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted. Other sets are made from stone, such as marble or granite; metals, including brass or pewter; ceramic clay; and even frosted glass or crystal. The latter are generally much more expensive than sets of traditional dominoes, though they can give a more elegant and distinctive appearance to a tabletop.

In addition to the traditional, rectangular dominoes, there are many other types of round, square, hexagonal, or octagonal dominoes. Some of these are used for special effects, such as octagonal dominoes which are placed on the edge of a glass tabletop and then turned to create an intricate floral design.

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