A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block used as a gaming object. The blocks are also known as bones, cards, men, or pieces and they come in a set of 28 that is usually called a domino deck or dominoes. They are normally twice as long as they are wide and each end has an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. The identity-bearing face of each domino is marked with an arrangement of spots, or pips, from one to six, although some squares may be blank (indicated in the listing below by a zero).

#### A Domino Effect

When you tip a domino just so, it falls and triggers the next piece in its line. The same can be said of many things in life, including events that happen in a chain reaction. The term “domino effect” is used to describe any action that causes something else to occur, often in a rapid or sudden way.

We’ve all seen those beautiful domino constructions where, after a single piece is tipped ever-so-slightly, all the others fall in a cascade of rhythmic motion. The same can be said of the “domino effect” in fiction writing—any action that causes something else to occur, often at a faster rate than would otherwise be the case.

How do we use the domino effect in our writing? By allowing our characters to make choices that influence the actions of other characters in our story. This means that we, as writers, must be able to anticipate what our characters will do and plan accordingly.

The most common way to play domino is with a double-six set. The 28 tiles are shuffled and formed into a pile, called the stock or boneyard, from which each player draws seven tiles. As they draw, players put their tiles on-edge in front of them so that they can see the value of their own dominoes but not their opponents’.

Each player in turn plays a domino according to the rules of the game being played. If a player holds a domino with a number on both ends, or a spinner, it is played first. If a player has not drawn a domino to play, he or she may buy the first tile from the stock. The number of pips on the bought tile and those already held by the player are added to the score for that round.

There are countless ways to play domino, and each game has its own rules. A good resource for finding out the rules for a particular game is the Great Book of Domino Games by Jennifer A. Kelley, which is available in print and on Amazon. Alternatively, you can also view our Domino Instructions to learn the basic rules for a few of the most popular domino games.

The Domino Effect in Fiction Writing