A small rectangular block, with one or more sides either blank or marked with pips or dots resembling those on dice. 28 such blocks form a complete domino set. Also called Dominoes and dom-i*nos.
In a domino game, players take turns placing tiles on the table. Each tile must match the previous ones in some way: either its open ends must be adjacent, or it must touch a double (one that has two matching ends). Then other players play to those tiles. The chain continues until a player “knocks” the table, or the players reach a point at which no more moves can be made and the score is tallied. Usually, the winning player is the one who has the most points after a number of rounds.
Lily Hevesh started playing with dominoes when she was nine years old. She loved setting them up in straight or curved lines and flicking them over to watch the chain reaction. She has since become a professional domino artist, making incredible creations that have been featured in films, television shows, and even a music video for Katy Perry.
Hevesh says that one physical phenomenon is crucial to a good domino setup: gravity. The force that pulls a fallen domino toward the ground is what causes it to crash into the next domino and start a new chain reaction. Hevesh’s largest setups take several nail-biting minutes to fall—but once they do, the whole thing is magical.
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The word “domino” was in wide use by the early 20th century, when a popular board game of the time incorporated it into its rules. The term was likely inspired by the Italian word domeno, which means “little mountain” and could refer to a small hill or a large building.
Today, domino is still a common sight in homes and schools, where it’s often used for educational purposes. And it’s no longer just a game: it can be an excellent tool for demonstrating the power of repetition and the importance of pattern recognition. Plus, it’s just plain fun to line up some dominoes and see what shapes they create! The most popular domino games involve blocking and scoring. The most basic, using a standard double-six set, involves matching the ends of pieces. A tile played to a domino with an equal number of matching pips must be placed perpendicular to it, or diagonally. For more complicated games, extended sets are used that add a greater number of unique combinations of ends. The most common extenders are double-twelve (91 tiles), double-15, and double-18.