Dominoes are small, flat, rectangular blocks of wood, bone, or plastic used for gaming purposes. They are commonly referred to as bones, pieces, men, or tiles and may be played with one or two players. In a traditional domino set, each tile is divided into two squares called ends, which are valued according to the number of spots (pips) they contain. In the most common variant, double-six, these numbers range from six pips on one side down to none or blank on the other.
When playing a domino game, each player takes turns drawing tiles from a stock, shuffled face down on the table. The leader (the one who has the highest total pip count) is first to draw and plays the domino with the highest value. The other players then draw their tiles, and the winner is the player who has the fewest pips remaining at the end of the game.
There are a variety of different variants of the traditional Western domino game, each with its own rules and strategy. In most of them, the tiles are arranged in a line of play, with each player trying to match their dominoes with those of their opponents. In some games, such as Five-Up, the doubles serve as spinners, allowing the line of play to branch.
Another popular variation is Chinese dominoes, a different kind of tile-based game that originated in China. Chinese sets feature duplicates of some throws, divide the tiles into two suits — military and civil — and are longer than typical European dominoes.
Some dominoes are made of harder materials, such as ceramic, to withstand a higher degree of wear and tear. They can also be painted or engraved to add a more personalized touch. Some are even shaped to resemble pizzas, like the ones at Domino’s restaurants.
The best dominoes, however, are made of the finest hardwoods and are carved by hand. This means that they’re less likely to break and can be used for a lifetime without wearing out.
Lily Hevesh, a professional domino artist from Toronto, is famous for her stunning installations that use thousands of dominoes to create three-dimensional scenes. She makes test sections of her creations before she puts them together, making sure they work individually and then filming the process in slow motion to make corrections as needed.
Her YouTube channel, Hevesh5, has more than 2 million subscribers and she’s done installations for pop stars like Katy Perry. She also designs domino-based installations for movies and events.
When Hevesh flicks a single domino, the chain reaction that results can look almost supernatural. But that’s a function of gravity, Stephen Morris, a physicist at the University of Toronto, explains.
“Gravity stores potential energy in the domino when it’s upright,” he explains, but when the domino falls, much of this energy is converted to kinetic energy. This energy is then used to push on the next domino in the series.
When writing a novel, consider how you can use the domino effect to create a compelling story. It’s a way of capturing the viewer’s attention and helping you convey your message in a visual form that doesn’t require words.