Dominoes are a tile-based family of games. Each tile is rectangular and has two square ends with a number of spots on them. To play, players place the tiles onto a game board. Players must try to place all of the tiles on the board to score a point. The game can be played for fun or for serious competition.
The game is popular in many cultures, including Japan. In Europe, dominoes were traditionally made of ivory, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell, and bone. Other materials for dominoes were mother of pearl oyster shell and dark hardwood such as ebony. Some dominoes are simply blank.
There are many variations of the game. One variation is called the Draw Game, which is more popular in many parts of the world. In this variation, players take fewer dominoes at the start of the game. Then, if a player is unable to play a domino, he or she must pick a sleeping domino. Eventually, the sleeping dominos run out. The rules of this variation are similar to that of the Block game, but differ in the number of tiles players start with.
The game of domino originated in the early eighteenth century in Italy. From there, it spread to southern Germany and Austria. By the mid-18th century, it reached France. It was a craze there, and was first documented in 1771 in the French dictionary Dictionnaire de Trevoux. In early European versions, dominoes represented each of the 21 possible faces of two six-sided dice.
The domino effect works by capitalizing on key principles of human behavior. For example, in one study, researchers at Northwestern University found that individuals who reduced their sedentary time reduced their daily fat intake. The participants were not told to do so; the reduction in sedentary time caused the participants to change their nutrition habits naturally. They also reduced the amount of mindless eating. In turn, this resulted in a healthier lifestyle.
A domino set contains a unique piece for each combination of two ends with zero to six spots. In this type of game, the highest-value piece has six pips on both ends. This allows for up to 28 unique pieces. If a player knocks down one domino, hundreds or even thousands of others may fall. This creates the domino effect.
To study the functioning of nerve cells, dominoes are often used as models. The fall of a domino elicits a pulse in the body similar to that of a firing neuron. Nerve cells are triggered by electrical impulses that travel through long bodies of individual nerve cells. Using a domino model, you can simulate many of these aspects of signal transmission in a fun and easy way.
The most basic version of the game is for two players. Typically, players have double-six sets. After the players draw their seven tiles from the stock, the tiles are laid out in front of them on the edge so that they can see the value of their own tiles. In a variant known as Five-Up, all the tiles are multicolored. In this version, the doubles serve as spinners, allowing for branching.