The Basics of Domino

Domino is a game in which tiles are stacked on end in long lines. When one is tipped over, it knocks the other dominoes down in a chain reaction. The result is sometimes stunningly elaborate and aesthetically pleasing. Some people use the game to make patterns and build structures, but others play it just for fun. Many people also use it to illustrate the principle of domino effect, which describes a chain reaction that starts with a small action that ultimately leads to bigger events.

The word domino is probably derived from the Latin dominus, meaning master. The name was later shortened to domino and finally to dominoes, the individual playing pieces that are the basis for most games. The earliest known Western domino game appeared in the late 18th Century, but it was likely invented earlier in other parts of the world. Some scholars believe that it was a device used to circumvent religious prohibitions against card playing.

Unlike playing cards, which have a single, identifying number on each face, dominoes have a different marking that makes them uniquely identifiable. Each domino has an arrangement of dots, or pips, that correspond to numbers on the ends of the tile. The number on each end is called its value and it may be blank or identically patterned on both sides. Some of the ends are also marked with a ridge that prevents the piece from sliding sideways or off the table.

Each domino has a different value based on the number of pips on its two exposed ends, and the values of adjacent ones. Two tiles are considered to match if their total pip count is equal. A domino with a 6-6 value is the heaviest and the one with a 4-4 value is the lightest.

The most common way to play the game is in pairs. Each player takes turns placing a domino edge to edge against another. If the exposing ends of one of the dominoes match, then the players score the number of pips on their opposing tile.

In addition to establishing a strategy, the players must also consider the amount of time they have to complete their score. The players whose total scores are closest to the target number win.

Hevesh uses a version of the engineering-design process when creating her mind-blowing installations. She starts with the theme of her creation and brainstorms images or words that relate to it. Then she goes to work, first creating 3-D sections and then flat arrangements. She makes test versions of each section and films them in slow motion to ensure that they will function properly.

The most important factor in a successful domino installation is the laws of physics. Gravity is the key to Hevesh’s incredible creations. When she sets up her largest installations, they can take several nail-biting minutes to fall. When a domino is knocked over, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, which pushes the next domino toward Earth and sets off the chain reaction.