Dominoes are small rectangular game pieces that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each piece is marked with an arrangement of dots, or pips, usually from 0 to 6. When the first domino is set down, it can knock over hundreds and even thousands of others in a chain reaction called the domino effect. These pieces are a staple for many different types of games and can be stood up to create elaborate patterns. This versatility has made them a popular toy for both children and adults alike.

Dominos are also a great way to teach kids about numbers and counting. The pips on the dominoes help young children learn to count while they play, and the simple act of setting down one domino can lead to an exciting cascade of other dominoes that fall over. This is a great opportunity to teach the value of teamwork, too. Many domino games are inspired by the way that one person’s action can cause a chain reaction that affects many people. For example, if our soccer team wins against our biggest rivals, that can lead to more wins for the rest of the season. This, in turn, can lead to state playoffs and a domino effect of goodwill that spreads throughout the entire community.

A domino is a rectangular game piece that is divided visually into two squares with an identical pattern on each side. The pips on the dominos can range from 6 to blank, but are normally arranged so that one side has more pips than the other. The pips are grouped together to form a value, called the rank or weight, that is compared to other dominoes. A domino that has more pips is said to be heavier than a domino that has fewer pips.

Once all players have their hands of dominoes, the order of play is determined according to the rules of the game being played. The player with the highest ranked domino in his hand is given the honor of making the first play, and the order continues around the table. The number of pips on the domino that is matched to an open end on an existing tile determines the count, which is added to a player’s score.

While most domino sets are manufactured from polymer, there are also many sets that are made from natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl or MOP), ivory, dark woods like ebony and a variety of other stones. These sets are generally more expensive and have a more beautiful and elegant look. In addition, they may feel more substantial in the hand than polymer sets. Despite these differences, both types of dominoes are very similar in terms of playability and the basic rules of the games they can be used for. Some players prefer the feel of a natural material, while others find that a polymer set is more durable and easier to clean and maintain.