Domino is a game of strategy and chance in which players place domino tiles on the table, positioning them so that one end of a chain shows a number; other players then play tiles to that end. The chains gradually increase in length. A player may not play a tile that leaves a blank space at either end of the table (except in a special variant called “stitching up”). When a player cannot continue to add tiles, they must instead draw from their hand and pass their turn.
The markings on the surface of a domino, known as pips, originally represented the results of throwing two six-sided dice. Over the years, they have become a tool for a wide range of games and demonstrations of skill. One such demonstration involves domino artist Hevesh, who creates incredible displays that take advantage of the laws of physics to bring about a cascade of rhythmic movement.
Each domino in a traditional set has a unique combination of pips. This makes each one identifiable to other players; a domino that does not fit the other pieces in a set is said to be “unique” and cannot be played. The most common pips are ones, threes, fours and fives. Those who play the game often prefer to use a domino set that has contrasting colors for the different pips, as this makes them easier to distinguish.
A typical domino set contains 28 tiles – a double-six set. The remaining pieces are shuffled face down to form a stock or boneyard, from which each player draws seven tiles. The first player then plays a tile, and if it matches an existing domino in the chain or is the highest possible number in the chain, that domino becomes part of the chain and its owner wins the round. In some variants, players accrue points for certain configurations of the chain and moves or for emptying their hands; these are called scoring rules.
As the size of a domino set increases, identifying its pips becomes more difficult, so some large sets feature more easily readable Arabic numerals on the ends. Occasionally, extremely large domino sets are sold, with the most famous being the double-twelve set, which has 253 tiles and can be used for the game of domino khanaskhi, a traditional Persian game.
Although domino is usually associated with a game of strategy and chance, it also has many practical applications. For example, Domino’s Pizza, which employs more than a thousand Domino’s drivers, uses data analytics to track their shipments, enabling the company to provide accurate delivery times. Domino’s is also known for its innovative approaches to ordering food, including the ability for customers to text an emoji or use Amazon Echo to order pizza by voice. It is believed that half of Domino’s employees work in software analytics.