Domino is a small rectangular block used as a gaming object. It has an identifying mark on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. The identifying mark is an arrangement of spots, or pip(s), similar to those on dice. A set of dominoes can be stacked on end to form long lines, and then tipped over, with each tipped domino causing the next domino to tip in turn. This simple action can be repeated with progressively more complex arrangements, creating elaborate shapes and structures. These games are popular with children and adults alike.
The term domino also refers to a line of actions that begin with just one simple event that results in much greater—and sometimes catastrophic—consequences. This idea is popularly referred to as the “domino effect” and is frequently used in discussions about politics, business, and world affairs. For example, when President Eisenhower was questioned about his decision to support the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in South Vietnam in 1961, he cited the domino theory to justify America’s increasing commitment of resources to that country.
Hevesh started collecting dominoes when she was 9 years old. She began posting videos of her domino projects online, and now she is a professional domino artist who creates stunning domino setups for movies, TV shows, and events—including the album launch of pop star Katy Perry. Hevesh’s largest installations can involve 300,000 dominoes, and they can take several nail-biting minutes to fall. Hevesh says that one physical phenomenon is key to making her incredible creations: gravity.
When you play domino, the goal is to build up a chain of tiles that each have a number written on them. Each player takes turns placing a domino onto the table, positioning it so that its matching end touches an end of a previous tile in the chain or to the edge of the playing surface. The resulting chains can grow into snake-line formations of various lengths. Each time a new tile is placed on the table, the chain grows in length.
While domino can be played with any type of tile, it is best to use sets made from a durable material such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony. These types of dominoes are usually more expensive than those made from polymer, but they can be more satisfying to handle and have a more elegant appearance. In addition to these traditional materials, a few modern dominoes are available in metal or ceramic clay, and some are even frosted glass. These sets have a more unique look, but they may be less easy to stack because of their weight and lack of uniformity.