Domino is a game that begins with one domino falling over and causes other ones to fall in a chain reaction. It is also the name of a company that makes pizzas.
When the first domino is tipped over, it can lead to an amazing spectacle of thousands of dominoes set up in straight or curved lines, all falling with the simple nudge of just one. Domino builders compete to create the most elaborate and imaginative domino effects and reactions in front of live audiences. The art of creating such sequences is based on the same principles that are fundamental to the art of writing novels.
The word domino comes from the Latin word dominium, meaning “flip.” It originally meant a cape worn by a priest over his surplice in a medieval carnival masquerade or religious procession. It is believed that the hooded cloak’s association with domino was inspired by the fact that its black color contrasted with the white of the domino pieces. The term came to be used to refer to the game as well as the hooded garment in the early 18th century.
Dominoes are square shaped, flat tiles with either black or white pips (or dots). Most domino sets contain 28 tiles. They are usually twice as long as they are wide, which allows them to be stacked on end in long lines. The most common type of domino play involves block and scoring games, although layout games are also popular.
In the United States, dominoes are typically played with standard double-six domino sets. There are also specialized sets with extra large, double-six dominoes or with other special features. For example, some sets have dominoes with a dotted surface or with other colors than the traditional black and white. Some sets are made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips.
Many people enjoy creating elaborate and beautiful displays of domino art. They set them up in straight or curved lines, in grids that form pictures when they fall, or in 3-D structures like towers and pyramids. Some people even compete to set world records in domino art. A young woman who goes by the online name Hevesh has built a career out of creating intricate and mesmerizing domino setups, earning more than 2 million YouTube subscribers with her videos of her creations. Hevesh says the key to her projects is physics, specifically the force of gravity that pulls each domino toward the ground and starts the chain reaction. She carefully plans each section of her large installations, filming them in slow motion to ensure they work properly. She also makes test versions of each section to make sure it is perfect. For her most massive and complex setups, it can take several nail-biting minutes for the entire sequence to fall.