If you’ve ever set a line of dominoes in a straight or curved row, flicked the first one, and watched the entire line fall, then you know what a delight it is to watch a domino effect. It’s an example of a simple principle that can be applied to almost any situation: one change triggers other changes, and the result is a chain reaction that continues until it stops.
A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block that has an arrangement of spots, resembling those on dice, on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other side. The identifying marks on the face of a domino are usually lines, arcs, or dots called “pips.”
The most common dominoes are rectangular and have twenty-four squares or pips on their surface. These pips are typically spaced in two sets of eight rows, and the squares on each row are arranged to match the pips on the adjacent dominoes in the same direction. Each domino also has a label, such as the name of a game, on its endcap.
There are countless variations of domino games, but most use the same basic rules. To begin, each player draws a hand of dominoes, or a number of tiles. Then he determines who will make the first play, which is called “setting” or “putting down” in some games. The player who plays a tile on the first turn is referred to as the “leader” or the “lead” and may be called upon to recall his tile (see Recalling and Passing a Domino) or purchase it from another player (see Buying a Domino).
Once the first domino falls, its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, the energy of motion. This energy is transmitted to the next domino in the line, which gives it the push it needs to fall over. The process is similar to how a nerve impulse travels down an axon in the body, although it is much faster.
In politics, the term “domino theory” refers to a political theory in which an action by a leader will cause other leaders to follow suit. This theory was popularized by the United States’ support of Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam and of non-communist forces fighting a civil war in Laos in the early 1960s. The result, as Eisenhower predicted, was that communism would spread throughout Indochina.
The concept of a domino effect is important to understanding the way that one behavior can cause a change in other behaviors. For example, people who spend less time sitting around on the couch watching television may find that they eat fewer calories as a natural side effect. Or, a business that starts offering healthier food options will often find that employees are more likely to adopt healthy eating habits. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, there is always room for improvement in your domino skills. To help you expand your knowledge and enhance your gameplay, we’ve put together this collection of articles that cover all the basics.