Dominoes – A Wonder of the Day

Dominoes are black and white rectangular blocks with a number of pips on each side. They are used for playing a variety of games. Some people like to line them up in rows, while others enjoy tipping them over one at a time. When the first domino is tipped just so, the rest fall in a cascade of rhythmic movement. This is called the “domino effect.” Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Juan. Thanks for WONDERing with us, Juan!

Dominoes come in various sizes and shapes, but the basic set has 28 tiles. They are usually twice as long as they are wide, making it easy to stack them on top of each other. They also have many nicknames, such as bones, cards, men, or tiles. They are most often made of ivory, bone or ebony, with a contrasting color (black or white) on the pips. They can also be made of other natural materials such as stone (e.g., marble, granite or soapstone); other hardwoods (e.g., oak, ash or redwood); metals (e.g., brass or pewter); ceramic clay; and other materials such as frosted glass and crystal.

The word “domino” derives from the Italian and French words for a type of hood worn by priests over their surplices. The hood was typically black, contrasting with the white of the surplice, and it may have been this contrast that led to the name of the game and its pieces. The game of domino spread to other parts of the world, including Europe, where it gained in popularity during the 18th Century. The word was borrowed into English around 1750.

Although domino can be played in a variety of ways, it is most commonly used for positional games. In these, each player in turn places a domino edge to edge against another, positioning it so that the adjacent faces are either identical (e.g., 5 to 5) or form some specified total. A player cannot play a tile that has the same value as a previously played tile. The chain thus formed develops a snake-line shape.

Other games use the same principle, but the dominoes are arranged in different ways. A common game is to place tiles so that the numbers on each end match. Some games, such as the arithmetic ones, require the players to place tiles based on arithmetic properties of the pips.

There are also a number of domino sets for building structures such as towers and castles. Some people even use them to make sculptures.

The domino effect is most visible when a large group of individuals or entities behave in similar ways, triggering other events to occur. For example, a large company can cause a domino effect by firing employees or opening new stores. This can lead to a decrease in revenue and the company’s bottom line. Alternatively, a domino effect can be a positive phenomenon when a business makes decisions that increase its sales. In this case, the company can capitalize on its newfound success.