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The Basics of Dominoes

A domino is a rectangular block of material, usually twice as long as it is wide. One side of each domino is marked with an arrangement of dots or spots (in the US, these are called pips) and the other side is blank or identically patterned. Two or more dominos are used to form a set. A set is used to play games of chance or skill. Some sets are designed for a specific game, but most allow players to interchange their pieces to play other games.

Dominoes are most often made of ivory, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), bone or dark hardwood such as ebony. They are most often painted with black or white pips. They are also produced from a variety of man-made materials, including polymer, ceramic clay and bakelite. The latter are more expensive, but they are more durable and have a more pleasing color and texture.

In games such as poker, skat and solitaire, the value of a domino is determined by its pips. The higher the number of pips, the more valuable a domino is. Each pips stands for a number from one to six, except for the blank, which is zero. A player wins a game by forming a complete line of dominoes that bear all the pips in his or her hand.

Other types of domino games include positional games, in which players place dominoes edge to edge against each other, so that the adjacent faces of all the dominoes are either identical or form some specified total. The players then try to take turns playing their dominoes, and the winner is the first to do so. Some games involve blocking the opponent’s play. The most popular of these are bergen and muggins, in which points are scored by the number of pips left in the losing player’s dominoes.

Many other domino games exist, and a complete set can be found at many toy stores. These are primarily games for children, but they are a good way to teach math and counting skills. In addition, the game is an excellent tool for developing motor skills. Many schools have domino tournaments and other contests, and giant domino rallies are frequently held in public venues.

When writing a story, thinking of each scene as a domino can help you develop an effective plot. Each scene domino may not have much effect on its own, but when the other scene dominoes fall, the result is a powerful and compelling chain reaction. This is the domino effect, and it is one of the most important concepts to understand in the art of writing fiction. Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or write it carefully using a rigid outline, understanding how to use the domino effect can make your novel stronger and more satisfying for readers. The key is to provide logical reactions to every event in the story, so that the reader can follow the logic and enjoy the experience of reading your work.