The Basics of Dominoes


Dominoes are cousins of playing cards and dice and are one of the oldest tools for games. They can be used to create complex designs or simply stacked on end in long lines. When one domino in a line is tipped over, it pushes on the next in line, and the process continues until all the dominoes have fallen. This is the origin of the popular phrase, “the domino effect,” which refers to a chain reaction that starts with a small event and ultimately leads to bigger-and sometimes catastrophic-consequences.

There are many different games that can be played with dominoes, including blocking, scoring and simple matching. They can be played individually or in teams. Dominoes can also be used to make art, such as drawings or 3-D structures.

Before a game begins, the players must decide who will go first. This can be done in two ways: either each player chooses a domino at random and the holder of the highest value goes first, or the players draw their entire hand of dominoes (which varies depending on the game) and the holder of the highest double draws first.

When a new domino is placed down, it is usually matched to an existing domino by its ends, which have a number of spots-called pips-on each side. A typical set contains 28 dominoes, with six spots on each end, but there are a variety of different sizes and shapes of dominoes.

Traditionally, each player draws seven dominoes and puts them down in a line on the table. Then, the player to his or her left plays one of them and continues in this way until all the dominoes are down. The person who plays the last domino wins the game.

The word domino has a complex history, both the game and the name. The word appeared in English around 1750, and it may have been derived from the French domino, which was a term that described a long hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade. In fact, the earlier sense of the word may even have been a cape worn by a priest over a white surplice.

Dominos are made of a wood or plastic and have a rectangular shape with two parallel ends. Each end has a number of spots, which can be blank or marked with numbers like those on dice. Some sets are called “double-six” sets, because there is a domino for every possible combination of six spots on an end. Other larger sets include the “double-12,” “double-15” and “double-18.”

Before a game of dominoes begins, the tiles are shuffled. This is done by placing the dominoes on a flat surface and moving them in a random fashion without touching any of them. The resulting mix of dominoes is known as the boneyard. This is where the pieces are drawn from when a game begins.

Hevesh’s process of creating domino art involves making test versions and then filming each one to make sure that it works correctly. This allows her to make adjustments if necessary before assembling the final design, which can consist of straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall or 3-D structures such as towers or pyramids. In addition to planning the track, she must calculate how many dominoes are needed and how they will fit together in the final arrangement.