Domino is a game that involves laying down small rectangular wood or plastic blocks that are marked on one side with an arrangement of dots like those on dice. When a domino is knocked over, it triggers a chain reaction that causes the other pieces to fall. When the entire line of dominoes is completed, a winner is declared and scores are awarded. There are many different variations of domino, but most of them have similar rules.
Whenever a player places a domino, it must be done so that the two matching ends of the tile are adjacent. The dominoes must also be positioned so that the open end of the tile touches the other tile’s open end. This configuration is called the line of play or the string. The dominoes are joined together in the string in two ways: a) lengthwise, with each tile played to a single domino that is touching at its open end; or b) cross-ways, with each tile placed across an existing double (if there is one).
The way the dominoes fit together in a string provides a small part of the enjoyment for players. The pattern that develops on the table is a little random, but some of the fun comes from trying to predict which piece will be knocked over first and where it will land.
In most domino games, the winning player is determined by counting the number of pips on the tiles in the losing players’ hands at the end of a hand or game. The winner adds this number to the total score of his or her own tiles. The score may be based on the number of points scored in a round of a game, or the winners can divide their totals equally.
Hevesh, an artist who creates incredible domino creations, explains that one physical phenomenon makes her works possible: gravity. This force pulls the fallen domino toward the Earth, and it sends it crashing into the next piece and setting off a chain reaction.
The speed at which a domino falls depends on its mass and the friction between it and the surface on which it rests. The slipping motion of a falling domino also generates heat and sound, which helps give the impression that it is falling. A domino has inertia, and will resist movement unless there is an outside force pushing or pulling on it. But a very small nudge is enough to make the first domino tip past its “tipping point.” Then its potential energy becomes available to push on the next domino, and so on. Try making some dominoes fall several times, noticing how the force required to move them changes as you apply more and more pressure. You can even make them fall backward by applying a very small amount of force to the first domino.