Domino is a game or a system of rules for games played on a flat surface with one or more rows of dominoes. Each domino has a unique pattern of spots, or “pips,” on one side and is either blank or identically patterned on the other. The number of pips on each end determines the domino’s value in a particular game. The word is also used as a figurative term to describe the cascading effect of a single event leading to other events or results, such as a soccer team’s winning streak that leads to state playoffs.
There are a variety of ways to play domino, but the basic principle is that players draw their hands from the stock and place them face down on the table in front of them. The player who draws the highest double (or, if a domino is a spinner, both ends of the tile) takes first position, and then seats himself according to the instructions for the game being played. When playing a domino game that has more than one player, the seats are usually determined by lot.
Lily Hevesh started playing with dominoes when she was nine, and she began posting videos of her creations online at age 10. Now, at 20, Hevesh is a professional domino artist, creating intricate setups for movies, TV shows, and even a Katy Perry album launch. Her largest installations take several nail-biting minutes to fall, but she credits one physical phenomenon for the success of her designs: gravity.
As a domino falls, its force causes the other tiles to topple in a chain reaction. This chain is sometimes compared to the firing of a neuron in your brain, because it moves at a consistent speed and can only travel in one direction—from the point of impact to the end of the domino’s axon.
Although there are many different types of domino, the most common set is called a double-nine. Other common sets include double-12, double-15, and double-18. Some games can be played with a much larger set, but these are generally less popular.
The smallest domino has one pips on each end, while the largest has six. Each type of domino has different rules for determining its value in the game being played. Some games use a count of all the remaining dominoes, while others use only the number of matching ends on each domino.
A spinner is a domino that can be played on all four sides, while an ordinary domino can only be played on two sides. Some games require that all dominoes played be spinners; in these cases, each time a new double is added to the line of play, it must be a spinner. Other games have additional rules for determining whether or not a double can be played on all four or only two sides of the domino. These rules are called the Line of Play. These rules may vary between games or even between players of the same game.