The Different Ways to Use Dominoes


A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block with one face bearing a pattern of dots resembling those on dice and the other blank or marked only with a line. When one domino is knocked over, it triggers the falling of other dominoes in a chain reaction that often ends in a beautiful display of rhythmic movement. The word is also used figuratively to refer to a situation in which events or ideas cascade like dominoes.

Domino’s founder, Tom Brandon, established a culture of listening to employees and putting their concerns into action. He believed that it was important to keep the lines of communication open, even when the company was struggling. This approach paid off. In the Domino’s Top Workplaces survey of 2015, employees ranked the company number two in overall job satisfaction.

Nick Morris had a passion for building, but no formal training as an artist or woodworker. He taught himself how to build dominoes using the tools in his garage: a drill press, radial arm saw, scroll saw and belt sander. He developed a method that allowed him to create dominoes that were small enough to be manageable in his limited workshop but detailed and complex enough to demand respect for the craftsman.

The most common way to use dominoes is to play positional games, in which a player places a domino edge-to-edge against an opponent’s tile, counting the value of the adjacent pips (the small round or square markings on the faces of the domino). Players can play any sort of game that would be possible with a standard double-twelve set (291 tiles) and a set of four-sided playing cards.

Another way to use dominoes is in a learning activity, where children build a structure of the pieces and then knock them over. This teaches them about the physics of the domino effect. It also helps them learn about balance and proportion, and how a slight change in weight can affect the behavior of the dominoes.

A third use of the term involves political events and situations, such as a country’s collapse under pressure from foreign intervention. Richard Nixon defended the United States’ destabilization of the Salvador Allende regime in Chile by applying this theory, saying that a Communist Chile and Cuba would form a “red sandwich” that could entrap Latin America between them.

While dominoes are typically made from polymer materials, they have been made of stone (e.g., marble or granite), various other woods (including ebony), metals and ceramic clay. Some people have also built structures with frosted glass and crystal. These sets tend to be more expensive than those made from polymer, but they have a unique and novel look that can appeal to certain players. Some people also prefer the feel of a natural material over the hardness and rigidity of a polymer.