A domino is a small rectangular block, normally twice as long as it is wide, with one face blank or marked by dots resembling those on dice. A domino is sometimes also referred to as a bone, card, man or piece, and may be used in many games. A domino set consists of 28 tiles that can be used in a number of different ways to play various types of games.
Domino art is a form of visual artistry using domino pieces to create drawings, structures and sculptures. There are many styles of domino art, including straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures and even 3D constructions like towers and pyramids. The art can be simple or elaborate, and the finished works are often quite impressive.
The word domino is derived from the Latin dominum, meaning “squashed,” which refers to the flattened shape of the piece. The earliest known use of the word in English was in the mid-12th century. Originally, the term was used to describe an entire set of dominoes, but today it is most often used to describe any specific tile or game played with those tiles.
When a player makes the first move of a game, he is called the setter or the downer. Depending on the game rules, this can be done either by drawing new hands or simply playing his hand of tiles. The player who plays the heaviest double, or the most valuable domino in the chain, may choose to begin the game.
Once the first domino is toppled, it sets off a chain reaction that causes domino after domino to fall in rapid succession. The speed at which a domino falls is determined by the amount of potential energy that it has stored up. This energy is transferred from potential energy to kinetic energy as the domino travels down its line of play. The process is analogous to a nerve impulse in the body, which travels at a constant velocity, regardless of its size, and can only travel in one direction-from the cell body to the end of the axon.
Unlike a standard polymer domino, which has a smooth surface, most wooden dominoes are made of carved hardwoods and have raised or painted pips. The most common material for dominoes is birch or beech, but sets have been made from a variety of other natural materials: bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory and dark hardwoods such as ebony.
In some games, a player who cannot make a play may draw dominoes from the stock and then bye them. The number of tiles he draws depends on the rules of the game, and the unused ones remain face down on the table to be drawn from at any time later in the game. Byeing is a way to gain an advantage in the game by making it more difficult for other players to score points. It is considered a form of cheating.