I remember playing Dominoes as a kid, but I’ll be jiggered if I remember all the rules now. I know you had to match adjacent tile patterns, but not much beyond that. Really, several different games can be played with dominoes, but the most typical in our culture is the one based on blocking your opponent. It is said that dominoes were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen of Egypt, but I’m not sure how much they resemble a modern set. It is known that domino games have been played in China for centuries, and that their dominoes have civil and military classes. The first mentions of the game in Europe come from Italy in the eighteenth century, but it’s not clear whether they were introduced by the Chinese or invented independently. The word “domino” comes from domini, which were the hoods worn by French priests in the winter. In Venice, carnival masks that resembled these hoods were also called domini. While the hoods were black outside and white inside, however, the carnival masks were black with white spots. Hence, a black tile with white spots received the name “domino.”
One thing I couldn’t say is how people started lining dominoes up to start a chain reaction that knocks them all over, but it’s this use of the tiles that’s come to be used in modern expressions like “domino effect.” During the Cold War, the Domino Theory held that, unless countered with military force, communism would spread across the world like falling dominoes. As for Domino’s Pizza, their first location was originally called DomiNick’s, and founder Tom Monaghan derived “Domino’s” from that. He had apparently wanted to add a new dot to the logo for each new location, but soon found that totally impractical. The business grew at a rapid pace, based on its strategy of selling pizza that isn’t particularly good. Mediocre food does often seem to be the key to success in the restaurant industry. Domino’s also had the Noid, but he apparently retired some years ago. I believe he has an entry in the Necromicon, but back when that was written, he destroyed falafel.