The Domino Effect

The Domino Effect


Domino effect refers to the idea that a small trigger can start a chain reaction that leads to an event with far-reaching consequences. This idiom is often used in relation to political events, such as a country’s response to another country’s political movement. However, the idiom also applies to any situation where one action has far-reaching effects. A good example of the domino effect occurs when a company listens to its customers and responds with a change that has positive impact.

A domino is a rectangular or square wood or plastic block, with a face bearing an arrangement of spots or marks resembling those on dice. The other sides are blank or marked with a number (usually ranging from zero to six) and a line in the middle that divides the domino visually into two squares, called ends. The domino’s value is determined by the number of pips in one end and the number of pips in the other, with the most valuable domino being one with six pips on both sides.

Most domino sets are made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips. However, dominoes may be made of other materials as well: stone (e.g. marble, granite or soapstone); other types of wood, such as hickory, ash or oak; metals; ceramic clay; and even frosted glass or crystal.

In a game of domino, each player places a domino on the table in turn, positioning it so that its end touches one of the ends of a previously placed domino. Then the player either plays a domino with the same value as the previous tile or with a different value, depending on the rules of the game in question. The resulting domino chains grow until each end is covered by a domino with a matching number or a specified total.

A domino game typically comes with a rule sheet, a set of dominoes and a domino board, which are used to track the progress of the game. Several rules govern how the game is played, including whether doubles count as one or two, and how the dominoes are arranged on the board to form chains of numbers. In some games, the players’ goal is to get rid of all their tiles before opponents do.

In the early 18th century, dominoes first surfaced in Italy and France. By the late 1700s they were in England, purportedly brought there by French prisoners of war. Since then, the game has spread to many parts of the world. Today, a variety of domino game styles and variants exist. Most popular in the United States are a series of positional games that require strategic placement of dominoes. Many domino games feature a specific scoring mechanism, such as the awarding of points to the player who places a domino so that its adjacent opposing ends have a specified total (e.g. 6-6).