The Domino Effect

Whether you’re a fan of the game or not, you’ve probably seen one or two domino constructions where, after tipping just one piece ever so slightly, all the others fall in a cascade of rhythmic motion. Whether it’s an elaborate display for a movie or a competition for the most intricate domino reaction, these displays are remarkable to watch. What’s more, they are a visual reminder of the importance of momentum in narrative. Whether you’re writing off the cuff or use an outline tool like Scrivener to help with your plotting, the concept of the domino effect is a vital tool for crafting compelling storylines.

Dominoes are small rectangular tiles with an arrangement of spots, or “pips,” on each end. The most common domino set has 28 tiles, each with a number on one or both ends. A tile may also be blank (or marked only with zero).

Each side of a domino bears an identity mark that differentiates it from other tiles, including the numbered ends. The number on each end is usually referred to as the “number value” of that end; for example, a double-six has six pips on its two matching sides. Typically, each domino is placed with its matching end touching, unless the tile is a double. Each domino has its own unique identity mark on both sides, and each pair of matching sides forms a “chain.”

A chain of dominoes develops in a serpentine shape as each player plays his or her turn. A chain is complete only when the last domino in the chain has both of its ends touching. Depending on the game, players can then either “knock” the table with their hand or play a new domino, positioning it to touch only one end of the chain.

In many domino games, winning involves scoring points by counting the total of all pips on opposing players’ tiles. Typically, each domino is counted as having its number value on only one end (so a double-six counts as 6 points), and the player who scores the most after a given number of rounds wins the game.

Dominos’ initial success stemmed from its strategy of placing pizzerias in locations near college campuses. The idea was to reach a young audience with a product that matched their lifestyles. The brand soon became a household name, and, in the 1970s, Domino’s was among the first major fast-food chains to offer pizza delivery nationwide. By the 1980s, Domino’s had grown to more than 200 stores. The company’s continued expansion is fueled by the same strategy of reaching customers in their homes, with both brick-and-mortar and online delivery options. The brand has also expanded into the realm of digital, with a mobile-optimized website and smartphone apps for ordering. In addition, Domino’s is experimenting with a variety of ways to deliver pizza, including robotic and drone delivery. (Source: Wikipedia)