Domino is a game played with flat oblong pieces, normally white on one side and black on the other (called dominoes). Each piece has a number showing at either end, and each player in turn places a domino on the table positioning it so that the domino chain, gradually increasing in length, touches that particular number. The value of a domino is also known as its rank, or weight, and it is normal for players to attempt to “stitch up” the ends of the chain, so that they show numbers of their choice.
There are a wide range of games that can be played with dominoes. These include scoring games, such as bergen and muggins, in which the number of points won or lost by each player is determined by counting the dots on the dominoes in his or her hand. Blocking games, such as matador and Mexican train, in which a player tries to block opponents from playing their dominoes, are also common. Some domino games have educational purposes, such as teaching children to identify and count the number of pips on each domino.
In addition to traditional dominoes, sets are sometimes made from other natural materials such as marble, granite or soapstone; stone (e.g., flint, ivory, or bone); woods such as mahogany and walnut; metals (e.g., brass or pewter); ceramic clay; and even frosted glass. These sets often have a more sophisticated appearance and can be considerably more expensive than standard plastic dominoes.
The term domino is also used as an idiom to mean that a situation will affect other people or situations in the same way that a set of dominoes falling over has an effect on the surrounding ones. This concept is a popular metaphor for the idea that one event can trigger a series of other events similar to it – often with unpredictable results.
For example, if a person begins smoking a pack of cigarettes per day, this can increase their chances of developing lung cancer and other health problems. This is because the body is unable to process the chemicals from the cigarettes, and so they build up in the bloodstream over time. The same can be said for other addictive substances, including drugs and alcohol. The domino effect is also often used as an analogy for the effects of war, arguing that a country suffering from poverty or social unrest will often find itself at the centre of other conflicts in its region, like a domino being knocked over by several others. This can cause a chain reaction that can be difficult to stop, but which is ultimately inevitable. It is important for politicians and diplomats to consider the potential consequences of a policy, so that they can take steps to prevent the domino effect from occurring. This will protect both their own country and the countries of other nations. This is especially true if they are considering military action.