The Many Uses of Dominoes

A domino, also called a domino block or simply a domino, is a small rectangular piece of rigid material used as a gaming object. It has an identity-bearing surface that is blank or patterned with an arrangement of spots, resembling those on dice, and it rests on a base. Different sets of dominoes are used for games ranging from simple blocking to elaborate, strategy-based games.

In its most basic form, a domino set consists of 28 tiles (though larger and smaller numbers are sometimes used) in a line with one end resting on top of the other. The tiles are typically white but some sets are colored to distinguish them from each other. The tiles can be played to other pieces in various ways that create chains of dominoes extending outward from the original tile.

The most common game played with a domino set involves the use of skill and timing to arrange the tiles in long lines so that when the first domino is knocked over, the others will fall in a neat, rhythmic cascade. These arrangements are called domino shows and can be quite impressive. Depending on the complexity of the setup, it can take minutes for the entire chain to collapse after the first domino has fallen. For particularly elaborate arrangements, special blocks are placed at regular distances along the sides of the dominoes to prevent a premature toppling from undoing more than a single section of the dominoes.

Dominoes are used in many other kinds of games, too. For example, in the game Twenty-One, each domino initially shows the number of points a player has won on the previous turn. A player can then play a tile with the same number as the previous win or with a higher number, adding to his or her winnings. In addition, there are solitaire or trick-taking games played with dominoes that are adaptations of card games and were once popular in certain areas to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards.

There are also several types of domino art, which include curved lines, grids that create pictures when they fall, and 3D structures such as towers and pyramids. This type of domino art requires planning and a lot of energy to construct, but it can be fun for all ages.

Hevesh, a domino artist who has created mind-blowing displays for movies, TV shows, and events such as the Katy Perry album launch, follows a version of the engineering-design process when creating her pieces. Once she has a general plan in place, she brainstorms images and words that can be represented by the domino pieces.

As she works, Hevesh uses a variety of tools to draw or paint the track on which she will lay her dominoes. She also writes arrows on the paper to indicate how she wants her pieces to fall. When she’s done, she takes a moment to admire her handiwork and then waits for it to begin its natural cascade. When you’re writing a novel, think of the domino effect as a way to plot scenes that run contrary to what most readers think is logical. This will help your story hold their attention as they try to figure out why your character is acting the way he or she is.