Dominoes are a versatile toy that can be used for a wide variety of games. They are normally twice as long as they are wide, and each side of a domino features a number of dots or “pips.” Most dominoes have a pattern on one face that can be recognized by players, and the other is blank. Some dominoes also have a ridge that divides the two sides visually. Dominoes are normally made of polymer, such as plastic or bakelite, but some are made of other natural materials, including bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory and a dark hardwood like ebony.
Like playing cards, of which they are a variant, a domino has potential energy based on the arrangement of its pips. When the domino is stood upright, it stores that energy — which comes from gravity. But when the domino is knocked over, its energy is converted from potential to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. That energy is transmitted from domino to domino, causing them to topple in a chain reaction.
The most common set of dominoes is double six, with 28 tiles. Larger sets exist, but are mostly used for games that involve several players. Most domino games fall into one of two categories: blocking or scoring. Blocking games require players to empty their hands before opponents can play. Scoring games use a domino’s pips to determine points.
Many people also enjoy creating domino art, such as curved lines that form pictures when the dominoes fall or grids that build 3D structures. Other popular forms of domino art include a domino track that shows how the dominoes are falling, and dominoes arranged to create patterns, such as hearts or flowers.
Even if you are not an artist, you can create your own domino track by drawing a line on a piece of paper and indicating where each domino should be placed. You can also draw arrows to indicate the direction that each domino should move to determine how it will impact the track you are creating.
Whether you are a pantser, or a plotter who uses outlines and Scrivener to help you plan your book’s structure, it is important to understand the dynamics of the domino effect when writing scenes. This will help you avoid laying down scenes that are at the wrong angle or don’t have enough logical impact on the scene ahead of them. Using the domino effect can also help you resolve story problems. For example, if your character discovers a clue that would cause them to act in a particular way but then nothing happens to activate that behavior, you should look at the domino effect as the reason why. Changing the direction that the dominoes are moving may be all it takes to make your story click.