# The Basics of Domino

Domino is a game with many variations and rules. The game involves a set of small, rectangular ceramic tiles with identifying marks on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. The tiles are linked together by a series of dots or pips, similar to those on a die. The first domino tile played to the table establishes a line called a “string” or “line of play.” Depending on the rules, the lead may be determined by lot, by the highest double in the string, or by counting the number of pips at both ends of the string of play. If a tile is a spinner, it can be played on all four sides.

After the string of play is established, each player selects a tile from the stock to begin playing. The value of the selected tile determines where that player sits at the table. A player who draws the lowest-valued tile sits to the left of the leader. The next lowest-valued tile is then placed in the center of the board. Players take turns drawing tiles until each has a hand of seven tiles.

The remaining tiles are then arranged so that each has an open end facing the other players. This arrangement is called the “layout” or “string.” The pips of the dominoes must match in order for the tiles to fall into place. When a tile cannot be played, the player “knocks” (raps) the table to pass play to the opponent. When the game reaches a point at which no more tiles can be laid, the winners are the partners whose combined total of pips on their remaining dominoes is the lowest.

A domino game can be as simple or elaborate as the players want it to be. It can involve straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, walls, or 3-D structures like towers and pyramids. In addition to its entertainment value, domino is an excellent tool for teaching a variety of mathematical skills, including pattern recognition and sequence learning.

Whether you are a plotter who uses outlines or a panster who composes your manuscript as you go, a bit of careful planning can make the process of creating a narrative easier and more productive. If you don’t take the time to plot your novel, the result can be scenes that fail to connect with each other logically or with the scene that precedes them. In the same way that a domino fails to fall without a matching open end, your novel will likewise falter without a strong emotional shift that is informed by and impacts the previous scenes. Using a scene list can help you weed out these scenes and create a smoother, more engaging story.

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