A domino is a flat thumb-sized rectangular block, either blank or bearing from one to six dots or pips (small squares): 28 such pieces make up a complete set. Dominoes are used to play a variety of games, generally by lining them up end to end in long lines. When a domino is tipped over, it triggers the next domino in line to tip as well, and so on until all of them are laid down. In this way, very complex designs can be made using dominoes.

Dominoes are often made from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony. They are typically twice as long as they are wide. A domino’s value is based on the number of pips it has on both ends, or facets; a double-six, for example, has six pips on each side. The dominoes also have a characteristic marking called a “flip mark,” which is a small black or white spot, inlaid or painted, to identify them as authentic.

The game of domino, or dominoes as they are sometimes referred to, is popular with children and adults and involves laying a series of dominoes in a line across a table surface. When one domino is tipped over, it causes the next in line to tip as well, and so forth until all the dominoes are arranged in a pattern. Some dominoes are stacked with their ends touching, others are stacked so that they form a cross or other shape, and still others are laid in a random fashion.

One of the most common uses of domino is to practice math skills and basic addition and subtraction, although many people enjoy simply arranging them into elaborate patterns. The game can be played by two or more players. Each player takes turns placing a domino on the table, positioning it so that one end of the tile matches one end of the already placed dominoes. Then the player adds to the existing chain, continuing until the desired pattern is achieved or the entire set of tiles has been used up.

While most people think of domino as a single-player game, it can be played with groups of any size. The most common group games involve matching the numbers on each end of the dominoes, with one person taking a turn until all of the other players have taken their turns. Some people prefer to use a computer program to play the game because it can be faster and more accurate than counting by hand.

The domino effect is a commonly used metaphor in business to describe a situation wherein one event leads to many more significant-and often dramatic-consequences. It’s a concept that can be applied to writing, too. Whether you’re a panster and write your manuscript off the cuff or use a tool such as Scrivener to help you plot, it can be helpful to consider how the domino effect could be applied to the scenes in your novel.