Domino – A Game of Strategy and Skill


Domino is a game of strategy and skill that has captured people’s imaginations around the world for centuries. It is more than just a fun pastime; it has become a symbol of camaraderie and competition in many cultures.

Dominoes are rectangular tiles, normally either ivory or black with contrasting white or colored spots, that are linked by lines or ridges. They bear an arrangement of numbered squares, called “pips,” on one side and are blank or identically patterned on the other. The pips are designed to match with those on adjacent pieces, or “piles,” in a domino chain so that each piece touches two of the ends of other pieces. The number of pips on a domino determines its value in the game. The earliest known domino sets had MOP (mother of pearl), bone, or ebony blacks and ivory faces. Today, dominoes can be made of a variety of materials such as plastic and polymer, but the traditional ones are typically made from natural material, such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell, or ivory. Some are even carved from solid marble or granite.

The rules of the most common games of domino depend on which type of set is being used, as well as the particular version of the game. Generally speaking, players alternate in turn playing a tile onto the table so that its end is touching another end of the chain. The player who plays the first tile may be referred to as the setter, the downer, or the lead, depending on the game. Once a piece is played, it cannot be removed from the chain unless it is a double. A piece played to a double must be positioned correctly, perpendicular to the double or diagonally across it.

In positional games, each player in turn places a domino edge to edge against the face of another domino with a number showing on its adjacent end. If both ends of the chain show the same number, this is referred to as a “stitched up” domino. This can be a useful strategic advantage if the player can use it to form a certain number combination on the other side of the board.

Once a player has played all of his or her tiles, the remaining tiles are called the stock. The amount of pips on the stock at the end of the game is added to the winner’s score. Depending on the game, some of the stock tiles might be bought, which adds to the winner’s score as well.

A domino artist, known as Hevesh on her YouTube channel, creates stunning domino installations that include straight lines and curved lines that form pictures when they fall, grids that make patterns, 3D structures like towers and pyramids, and more. She often makes test versions of her intricate designs before she begins building them out. She also films her tests in slow motion, which allows her to correct the design before it goes live. Her largest installations take several nail-biting minutes to complete.