A Beginner’s Guide to Dominoes


Dominoes are small, colorful blocks that can be arranged to create straight or curved lines. Their small size and intricate detail make them popular with crafters and designers. They are also useful in teaching physics and engineering students about gravity and the laws of motion.

Lily Hevesh started playing with dominoes when she was 9 years old. Her grandparents had the classic 28-piece set, and she loved setting them up in a row, flicking the first one, and watching them all fall in succession. Today, Hevesh is a professional domino artist, creating spectacular sets for movies, TV shows, and even music videos. Her YouTube channel, Hevesh5, has more than 2 million subscribers.

The most common domino games involve two or more players. The game pieces, often called bones, cards, men or pieces, are normally twice as long as they are wide, with a square surface marked with one to six dots (also known as pips). Each domino has an opening on each end that can be used to connect it to other tiles. A domino’s value is determined by its number of pips. The more pips a domino has, the higher its rank and value. The value of a domino may also be defined as its “weight,” which can vary from none or blank to a number such as 6 or 12.

During play, a player wins by completing all of their own dominoes. In most games, the players place all of their pieces on the table, except for any they haven’t yet played. The remaining dominoes are called the stock or, in the United States, the boneyard. The player who has the most dominoes in their possession is the leader, and they play first.

A player continues to play until they can’t continue, at which point they stop. The other players then take turns playing their pieces. The winner is the player who completes all of their own pieces, or who amasses the most points over a set number of rounds.

One of the most important aspects of any game is picking the right dominoes to play. Good dominoes are challenging and require a significant chunk of time to complete. They should be related to the bigger goal, and ideally, lead to positive side effects. For example, if you’re working on improving your finances, it might be helpful to break down the larger process into several good dominoes such as drafting a financial plan and implementing that plan.

The key to a successful domino effect is understanding the role of energy. When a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy, which is stored based on its position and the force of gravity. As a domino falls, it releases this energy and causes other dominoes to fall in a chain reaction. This is similar to the way that changing a single habit can lead to a domino effect, such as when people begin to spend less time on sedentary activities and eat less fat.