# The Basics of Dominoes

A domino is a small rectangular piece of wood or plastic that features dots or lines that resemble dice. The word is derived from the Latin term dominium, which means “flip.” Dominoes are generally used for games that involve placing tiles in careful sequence on the table and then knocking them over, either one by one or as part of a larger chain reaction.

Many people are fascinated by domino, whether they enjoy playing the game or simply watching intricate domino setups. For example, some artists create curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall and 3D structures like towers and pyramids. Creating these designs requires careful planning and execution because, once the dominoes are set up, they must follow the laws of gravity to succeed.

In addition to being fun, domino is a great way to explore the principles of science and mathematics. For example, when you set up a domino chain and lightly touch the first domino with your finger, it should immediately fall. This is because the force of gravity pulls a falling domino downward, causing it to graze against the next domino and trigger a chain reaction.

If you’re new to the game, you can start with a basic double six or double nine set (which have 28 and 55 tiles respectively). Larger sets exist and are often called extended sets, but they are not as common. Typically, these are designed for multiple players and feature a variety of ends (including a spinner, which can be played on all four sides).

When you play a domino game, each player places a tile on the table. The tile must be placed so that it touches a previous domino, either by its edges or its pips. Depending on the type of game, there are rules that determine how the number of points is determined. Generally, a winning player counts the total number of pips on the losing players’ hands at the end of the hand or the game and adds that amount to their score.

Many people are amazed at the skill required to make complex dominoes. Some of these setups are even featured in shows where domino builders compete to create the most elaborate effects and reactions before a live audience. In fact, the process of constructing a mind-blowing domino effect is much like laying out the plot for a novel. Just like the nerve impulses that travel along a neuron, a domino reaction moves at a constant speed without losing energy and can only be transmitted in one direction. This is why it’s important to plan out every step of your domino chain.