The Art of Domino

Domino is a game in which players place domino tiles, called dominoes, edge to edge against one another to form a chain that falls when a single tile is knocked over. The most popular games use a standard double-six set of dominoes. However, there are many different games that can be played using the same basic domino rules. Some games are designed to be fast-paced, others involve scoring points, and still others are designed as artistic constructions that can take hours or even days to complete.

A player begins a hand of domino by placing his or her first tile. The player who makes the first play may be referred to as the setter, the downer, or the leader. The next player then takes his or her turn. The next domino played is placed either face up or down, depending on the rules of the game being played.

The open end of the domino on which a tile is played must be adjacent to the open end of the previous domino played. This configuration is known as the line of play. Some games have specific instructions for how the line of play should be arranged on the table. For example, some rules require that a tile is played perpendicular to a double, while others allow the tile to be played diagonally to a double or to a non-double.

Most domino sets are made from plastic, but there are also sets made from other natural materials such as bone (usually buffalo horn or ivory), silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell, or ebony with contrasting black or white pips. These sets have a more unique look and feel, but they are usually much more expensive than the polymer dominoes.

Hevesh has worked on domino projects that involve 300,000 dominoes or more, and some of her largest installations can take several nail-biting minutes to fall. But she says that there’s one physical phenomenon that makes these mind-blowing domino installations possible: gravity.

Standing a domino upright gives it potential energy, or stored energy based on its position. But when a domino is knocked over, much of that energy converts to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. Some of this energy is transmitted to the domino that follows, giving it a push that causes it to fall and trigger the domino effect.

When playing a domino game, it’s important to know how the scoring system works. In most cases, a player who loses a hand or the entire game is scored by counting the number of pips on all the remaining tiles in the losing player’s hand. This score is then added to the winner’s total. Sometimes, a variant scoring method is agreed upon by the players in which only the pips on the winning player’s remaining tiles are counted. This method can be faster and more accurate than calculating the total number of pips on all the remaining dominoes in the losers’ hands.