The Basics of Domino


Domino is a game in which players place dominoes (also called bones, cards, men, or pieces) on the table to form lines that will eventually fall. The first player to place a domino in the correct position wins. A domino typically features two square ends, each displaying a number of spots, or “pips”, from one to six. Each end may also be blank, indicating that the tile can be played in any direction. The sum of the pips on a domino is often used to determine its value, and a domino with more pips has a higher value than a domino with fewer pips.

The most common set of dominoes includes 28 tiles, but larger sets exist for games with more than four people or for players looking for longer chains. These large sets are also called extended dominoes, as they allow for a greater number of combinations of ends with the same value.

Several different types of domino games exist, which fall into two broad categories: blocking and scoring. In blocking games, a domino must touch the end of another domino before it can be played. The value of the dominos that touch the first tile in this manner is determined by their pips and ranks. A domino with a lower rank, or value, is considered to be “heavier” than a domino with a higher rank, or value.

When a domino is paired with a matching tile, it becomes part of a domino chain, which gradually increases in length. A chain may also be rearranged to change its direction. Usually, additional dominoes can be placed only along the long sides of a double; if a player places a tile such that it straddles the end of a previously stacked domino, this is said to have “stitched up” the end of the previous stack.

As the domino chain grows in length, its force of impact is multiplied by each successive pair of dominoes that is added to it. For this reason, it is important for a player to play carefully, and to be aware of the effect that his actions will have on the chain.

Hevesh began playing with dominoes as a child, building a few lines of dominoes before flicking the first to start them all falling. She grew up to become a professional domino artist, earning a reputation for creating spectacular domino setups for films, TV shows, and events—including an album launch for Katy Perry.

Hevesh’s creations require a lot of planning, and she creates test versions before putting them together. She then films these tests in slow motion to make precise corrections. When she’s satisfied that a particular section works, Hevesh moves on to the next. The process can take days, if not weeks. But for Hevesh, the work is worth it. She enjoys seeing her designs come to life and watching the effect that they have on her audience. “A good domino has a huge impact,” she says. “And it’s a really beautiful thing to witness.”