Dominos are small rectangular game pieces with anywhere from 0 to 6 dots. They are used to play a variety of games in which one domino knocks down others, or they can be lined up and admired as a beautiful work of art. Some people even build dominoes that are so elaborate that they aren’t able to be knocked over. The use of dominoes as a game inspired a concept called the Domino Effect, which states that if you change one behavior it will have a chain reaction that causes other behaviors to change.
In the most basic Western domino game, each player starts with 28 dominoes (also known as bones, cards, men, tiles, or spinners) and the game progresses by blocking and drawing until the final domino is topped. There are also many other games, including solitaire and trick-taking, that can be played using a domino set.
Each domino has a value, which is determined by the number of dots on each side. Most traditional dominoes have a value from zero to six, with the top and bottom sides having alternating numbers of spots or pips. The value of a domino is usually described as its rank or weight, with a domino having more pips than another being referred to as heavier.
Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide, which allows them to be stacked. The ends of a domino may be rounded or squared, and they are typically painted or etched with a contrasting color to make them easier to identify. The pips are also often inlaid or painted to help distinguish different types of dominoes.
While a person can stand dominoes up and let them remain upright, they are much more interesting when someone nudges them so that they fall over. When a domino is pushed, it stores potential energy, which is its stored potential to move. When the first domino falls, much of this energy is converted to kinetic energy, or energy in motion, which pushes on the next domino and causes it to fall as well.
Hevesh creates each of her domino installations in a process she describes as similar to an engineering-design model. She makes test versions of each section, which she then films in slow motion to ensure that each piece works as planned. Then she connects the sections, beginning with the largest 3-D ones.
Dominoes are generally made of wood or plastic, but they can be found in a range of other materials. In the past, European-style domino sets were often made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting white or black pips. Some sets are still produced from these natural materials, which tend to be sturdier and more visually appealing than polymer-based versions. Other unusual materials that have been used for dominoes include stone (such as marble, granite, or soapstone); metals such as brass and pewter; ceramic clay; and frosted glass.