What Is Domino?

Domino is a set of matching tiles designed to be laid edge to edge on a table in such a manner as to form one or more lines that increase in length as time progresses. Each domino displays numbers on one end while being blank or identically patterned on its reverse end; the total number of spots on all dominoes forms its “count,” and some games use this metric in scoring rules.

One form of the game can be used to build large displays showcasing dominoes arranged in grids or three-dimensional structures such as towers or pyramids, often as centerpieces at movies, television shows or events. Such installations are commonly known as domino artists or specialists.

Lily Hevesh is an internationally-recognized domino artist renowned for creating displays for TV shows and movies as well as breaking the Guinness World Record for most dominoes arranged circularly. Her largest installations take several nail-biting minutes to come down, often including thousands of dominoes. Each project begins by discussing its theme or purpose and brainstorming images or words she wants included before devising a plan on how she’ll arrange dominoes to meet that goal.

Typically, two players use a standard double-six set to play dominoes. All 28 tiles are shuffled together into what’s known as a stock or boneyard; then each player draws one or more dominoes from it before making their play according to game rules; typically starting with those holding doubles in hand making a play first, with any tied games broken by drawing new dominoes from the stock if necessary.

As the line of play progresses, a count can be determined by adding up each open end of dominoes that have been played. When doubles are involved, both ends count towards this total; similarly if any domino has two matching halves that together constitute its end.

Dominoes can also be used for positional games that go beyond blocking and scoring dominoes, including edge to edge arrangements in which each player places one domino edge to edge against another such that both ends match (e.g. 5 to 5) or form some specific total (e.g. 13). When used this way, the domino positioned far right on the line of play is known as the leader domino.

Counterintuitively, the potential energy of a domino is greatest when it’s still upright. According to Lorne Whitehead’s 1983 experiment at University of British Columbia physicist Lorne Whitehead’s experiment showed dominoes can knock over objects one and half times their size with just the slightest nudging from another domino. This occurs because dominoes possess inertia; their tendency to resist movement when no external forces push or pull on it.