Domino is a game played with a set of small rectangular blocks. Each domino has an identifying mark on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. The identifying mark is an arrangement of dots, called pips, which are similar to those on dice. The pieces can be arranged in a number of ways to form patterns that are used for various games. The most common domino sets include 28 tiles, and more comprehensive extended sets exist with up to double-18.
Most domino games involve a player empting his hand while blocking opponent’s play, and some games determine the winner by counting the pips in the losing players’ remaining tiles. Some of these games were adapted from card games, and they can help reinforce number recognition skills. The game also encourages teamwork and strategy, as well as physical coordination.
The earliest sense of the word “domino” was a hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade, but the association was likely due to the domino pieces being made from ebony blacks and ivory faces that recalled a priest’s cloak draped over a surplice. Later the word referred to a costume that included both of these elements, and in the late 18th century it came to refer specifically to the game itself.
Dominoes are usually drawn on a table or other hard surface, and the first player (determined either by drawing of lots or by who holds the heaviest hand) places one tile in the center of the board. The tiles are then arranged with their ends touching, and the number of matching pips on each end is recorded. A domino with no pips is called a double, and a tile with two matching pips is called a triple. The heaviest domino is often referred to as the double-six.
A domino effect occurs when a small trigger causes a chain reaction that continues to escalate, such as the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001. This phenomenon is sometimes applied to other events that may seem to be out of control, such as the spread of Communism in Indochina during the Cold War. President Eisenhower cited this principle at a press conference to explain his decision to offer aid to the South Vietnamese government in 1962. The term has since been broadened to apply to any cascade of events that starts with a single event or action.
In business, a domino effect is sometimes seen in the way that one task can lead to another without any direct connection between the tasks. For example, the success of a new marketing campaign might prompt a company to expand its franchise to other cities or countries. This expansion might lead to new opportunities and, eventually, more work that requires additional employees. Then those employees might create more campaigns, and so on. In this way, the initial success of a new project can cause the company to grow exponentially.