Dominoes – The Art of Playing Dominoes

A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block with an arrangement of spots, resembling those on dice, on its face. Each spot, called a pip, is linked to an adjacent spot by lines or ridges. The spots are typically painted white, but they can be made any color or pattern to distinguish between different sets of dominoes. Dominoes are used to play a variety of games and have many practical applications, including calculating odds. The game originated in Italy, but it quickly became popular throughout Europe. The word comes from the Italian domina, meaning “flip.” The game was also known as the fado, or “fado da naia” (fado of the sea).

A domino can be played by one or more people. Each player draws a number of tiles, and then places them on the table. The first player, determined by drawing lots or by whoever holds the most dominoes in his or her hand, begins the game by placing one tile on the table, usually the double-six. After that, the players begin a chain reaction by placing their own tiles in a way that connects them to the first domino. Each new tile must match the previous ones in size and color, and must also have a matching set of numbers.

The most popular dominoes have a maximum of 28 pips on each end. Most game rules require a matching set, so players must work within the limits of the available spots on each end. Some game rules allow players to play extra tiles, but they must be placed in a way that maintains the desired shape of the chain.

When a player adds a tile to a chain, the two matching ends must touch fully. If the new addition is a double, it must be placed cross-ways across the end of the domino it is playing to. In this way, the chains develop into snake-like arrangements that may change the direction of the flow.

Hevesh tests each section of her installation in slow motion before putting it together. The test pieces are then filmed so she can make precise corrections. The biggest 3-D sections go up first, followed by flat arrangements and finally the lines of dominoes that connect them all.

Like most woodworking projects, making a domino requires many tools. Hevesh uses a drill press, radial arm saw, scroll saw, belt sander, and welder in her grandmother’s garage, which she has converted into an amateur workshop. Her method is not the only way to make a domino, but it is an affordable and accessible approach for anyone with the right tools and a desire to express themselves creatively through woodworking. The process of creating a wooden domino is also an exercise in patience. It takes several hours for each domino to be completed. However, Hevesh believes that the finished product is worth the effort. As each piece is completed, it is a reminder of how much can be accomplished with simple tools and the power of persistence.