Dominoes are small rectangular blocks of wood or plastic, marked with dots resembling those on dice. They can be found in many games, and they are popular with children and adults as toys that can be stacked in long lines to make complex designs or used to play games of skill. Dominoes have also inspired many artists who use them to create stunning works of art, including straight and curved lines and even structures that resemble buildings.
The word domino and the game of dominoes both appeared in France shortly after 1750, but they may have earlier denoted a hooded cloak worn together with a mask at carnival season or at a masquerade, since the playing pieces were once made with contrasting black and white faces (as opposed to the more common color scheme of ebony blacks and ivory). The word may also have come from a Latin word for “devil,” and it has been suggested that the name reflects the way the pieces are positioned to control one another.
In the earliest forms of domino, each player places a tile edge to edge against another so that their exposed sides are either identical or form some specified total. The shape that develops from this process is known as a domino chain. The fact that the chains may be arranged in any direction makes them an ideal medium for a variety of positional games.
Traditionally, the most popular types of domino games are blocking and scoring ones. Blocking games are played when a single piece can block other players from taking certain actions, and scoring games are those in which a player attempts to reach a target number by placing a series of tiles. Most domino games are played with a standard double-six set (28 tiles), although larger sets are available for players who wish to try out longer games.
Larger domino sets are referred to as “extended” because they introduce ends with more pips than the basic six, increasing the possible combinations of ends and thus of tiles. Some of the more popular extended sets are double-nine (55 tiles), double-12, and double-15.
When a domino is tipped over, its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, the energy of motion, which can be transmitted to other dominoes and cause them to fall. This is the basis of the expression, “The domino effect,” which describes a sequence of events that begins with one small action and eventually leads to much greater—and sometimes catastrophic—consequences.
Dominoes can be used to build simple shapes or elaborate works of art, and some people enjoy arranging them into patterns and laying them out on the floor. When creating a layout, a person should first think about the theme or purpose of the work. This will help them decide which facets to include and how to arrange them in the best way.
When creating an extended domino layout, it’s a good idea to make a sketch of the design before proceeding to the actual construction. This will ensure that the end result is what they envisioned. Hevesh usually makes a test version of each part of an installation, which she films in slow motion to check for any issues before moving on to the next step.