A domino (also called a dominoe or domination) is a small rectangular block, usually made of wood, bearing from one to six pips and dots (the number of which varies). In most Western domino games, each player takes a set of 28 dominoes (although some large extended sets can contain up to 55 pieces) and places them in a line. When each domino touches another, it causes that domino to fall and the chain reaction continues. Depending on the game, the players can take turns placing or “going first” and must play to the end of the line in order to win. If they can’t do so, they must pass their turn and the next player starts the chain from that point on.
Some players even create complex domino chains that resemble snake lines. This is possible because each domino has three distinct positions – square, perpendicular to a double and diagonal to a double – that can be used in different ways. For example, the end of a tile played to a double touching it must be parallel to that side and must touch fully; or perpendicular to it, or diagonal to it (see Domino rules).
The simplest domino games involve just matching ends or laying them down in lines or angular patterns. For more complicated games, the specialized dominoes are arranged to form intricate shapes, and the pips on their edges are used to indicate their direction of travel. This is important because each tile has a specific direction of travel based on its position in the chain and the directional arrows indicated by the pips.
Dominoes can be used to build structures ranging from simple castles and palaces to intricate mosaics. Some of these structures are displayed at museums, and many people enjoy making their own dominoes to relax and spend time with family or friends. In addition to being fun, dominoes provide a good way to learn the principles of geometry and mathematics.
Professional domino artist Lily Hevesh has created mind-blowing displays for movies, TV shows and events, and she has a popular YouTube channel featuring videos of her creations. Hevesh says that when she sets up a domino sequence, she considers the theme or purpose of the installation and brainstorms images or words that might be appropriate for it.
Hevesh says the most crucial element of a successful domino design is the domino effect, which describes any action that results in larger–and sometimes catastrophic–consequences. To understand how this phenomenon works, Hevesh suggests that you try this experiment: Set up a line of dominoes and carefully watch as each one falls. Then, lightly touch a domino with your finger and notice what happens. Repeat several times, using gradually increasing amounts of force. It’s important to keep in mind that one domino can’t fall without each other, and the same is true of your writing. When you write, each scene should follow the same pattern as a domino tipped over by another domino: it must impact the characters, setting, and story line in a way that causes the readers to care.