# The Basics of Dominoes

Dominoes are small rectangular blocks marked with two groups of spots on one side, which are used to play a number of games. They are also used for learning and teaching math, history, science, social studies, language arts, art, and music. There are many domino games that go by different names in different parts of the world, but have very similar (and sometimes identical) rules. Some even have the same name in several languages but have slightly different rules.

A domino is a game where players build lines of dominoes, or “tiles,” edge to edge on a flat surface such as a table or floor. The ends of the tiles are typically marked with arrangements of dots, called pips, and some of the corners are blank or identically patterned. A typical domino set includes a total of twenty-seven tiles: eight doubles and fourteen singles. Each player builds a line of dominoes in his own turn by placing a tile on the end of a previous domino, thus creating a chain. The first player to place all of his tiles makes a play and is awarded points. The game continues in this manner until someone reaches the point of victory.

Before a game begins, each player shuffles the dominoes thoroughly on a flat playing surface by moving his hands over them and mixing them up. Then he draws his hand of dominoes for the game. If he draws more than he is entitled to, the additional dominoes are returned to the stock and reshuffled before he draws again. The player who makes the first play of a game is sometimes referred to as the “set,” “the down,” or “the lead.”

When the player has made his first play, he starts building his dominoes into a chain or “line of play.” This chain should eventually form a straight line, allowing the heaviest domino to fall in the end. The heaviest domino may be either a double or a single. Some games require a specific domino to be played as the opening domino, while others are not concerned with what the first play is at all.

Some of the most popular domino games are based on trick-taking, such as 42, which is a game of four players in partnerships partnered into teams. Each person plays seven dominoes into tricks; each domino with a multiple of five counts as a trick, so a winner must score 35 points or more in order to win the game.

Many of the same principles that apply to building a chain of dominoes also apply to writing stories. If a story is not developing at the proper pace or doesn’t have enough impact on the scenes before and after it, something is wrong. For writers who write by the seat of their pants, without preparing detailed outlines or using software like Scrivener, it is possible to get caught off guard by a scene that doesn’t have the right logical impact on what came before it.