The Basics of Dominoes

Dominoes are a type of flat tile marked with an arrangement of dots, similar to a die, on one side and a blank or identically patterned face. They are used to play games of skill, chance, and strategy. The game was first recorded in Italy and France in the mid-18th century, and brought to England by French prisoners toward the end of that period. The name comes from the idea that a single domino laid down may cause a chain reaction that ultimately leads to the domino falling over, thus dominoing the entire sequence.

In the early days of Domino’s, when the company was struggling financially and employees were leaving in droves, founder David Brandon and new CEO Peter Doyle heeded a core value: champion our customers. They listened to what people were saying about the company and what wasn’t working, and quickly put into place a series of changes that allowed the company to turn around in a big way.

As the company gained popularity, Domino’s became known for its elaborate domino setups. A professional domino artist, Hevesh 5, has more than 2 million YouTube subscribers and creates domino sets for movies, TV shows, and even events like Katy Perry’s album launch. Her largest domino creations take several nail-biting minutes to fall, but once they do, the results are spectacular.

While many domino games are designed to empty a player’s hand, others involve blocking an opponent’s play or scoring points. Regardless of the exact rules, most games involve a domino chain that a player can “stitch up” by playing a domino that has either a number showing on both ends (for example, one’s touch two’s) or forms a specific total (for example, five).

A player must always lay a domino when it is his or her turn unless he or she cannot make a play, in which case he or she simply “knocks” the table and play passes to the next person. When the domino chain reaches a point at which no player can play, the players have “chipped out” and the winners are those with the fewest chips left on their tables.

As the chain grows, it becomes more difficult to identify the number of dots on each end of a domino. To assist in this process, large dominoes are sometimes marked with more readable Arabic numerals. Some domino sets also feature a metal pin, called a spinner or pivot, which helps align the domino’s pips for easier identification.