The Domino Effect

Domino is a family of tile-based games played with gaming pieces known as dominoes, bones, men, cards or tiles. Each domino is a rectangular tile with a line down the middle, visually splitting it into two square ends that are marked with an arrangement of dots, called pips. The backs of the pieces are blank or identically patterned. The pieces are normally indistinguishable and are used together to form a domino set. A typical European domino set consists of 28 tiles, and contains one domino for every possible combination of end marks between zero and six. Larger sets can also be obtained, such as the double-nine set (with 55 dominoes) or the 190-tile double-18 dominoes.

The game is based on the principle that the fall of one domino initiates a chain reaction, whereby a series of adjacent dominoes are then knocked over in turn. The chain reaction is controlled by the player and may be terminated at any time, although the traditional goal is to reach a point where a final domino will fall in a specified pattern. The first domino to fall is called the starting domino, and it must be positioned correctly so that its end lands on the edge of the next domino in the row.

While the rules vary slightly between the different games, most dominoes are categorized into suit suits: each domino has either an odd or even number of pips on its edges and, therefore, belongs to only one of the suits. Each domino is also unique in its number of pips, and is thus not a member of both suits, even though it is the same color.

When a domino is flipped over, it falls and lands on the end of the row. The rest of the rows in the column then fall in a specified order. Often, the last domino in the row is placed so that its pips are touching those of the preceding domino. The end result is an attractive and colorful display of a domino chain.

In business, the Domino Effect refers to a phenomenon in which a single change in a person’s behavior creates a shift in related behaviors. For example, a person who decides to make his or her bed daily may begin sweeping and cleaning the house in addition to making the bed. This new habit may then inspire similar changes in other parts of the home.

Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan has made use of this effect in the company’s marketing. By offering a free pizza when customers buy two sandwiches, he has created a promotion that encourages people to try the restaurant and then return again.

For Hevesh, a domino artist who has worked on displays involving more than 300,000 dominoes, gravity is key to the whole project. When she’s done creating an incredible domino arrangement, Hevesh simply lets the force of gravity take over. She says the largest creations take several nail-biting minutes to fall. This is because a domino’s tops slide against each other and its bottoms slip against the surface it’s on, converting potential energy into friction and sound. But, once a domino starts falling, it’s hard to stop the momentum that it creates.