How to Play Dominoes

Domino (, “dominoes” or , “dominos”) is a game that involves arranging a series of tiles in either a straight or curved line and then triggering them to fall by placing one domino at the end of the line. Once all the dominoes have fallen, the winner is awarded points based on the number of spots or dots on the tiles. These points may be assigned a value such as 6, 12, or zero, depending on the rules of the game in question. Often, a player wins a round of the game by scoring all of the opposing players’ tiles.

The most popular way to play Domino is by using a set of 28 dominoes. Each domino has a square-shaped face with an arrangement of numbered dots, called pips, that are visible on one side. The other side of the domino is blank or identically patterned to the first. The pips determine the domino’s rank or value, with higher-valued dominoes having more pips. Each domino is usually twice as long as it is wide, and a typical domino has a line down the center to divide it visually into two equal parts, with each half having a value corresponding to the number of pips on its end.

Lily Hevesh has been fascinated by dominoes since she was 9 years old, when her grandparents gave her a classic 28-pack of tiles. She started making videos of her domino setups online, and her YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers. She has also worked on domino projects for movies, TV shows, and events—including a recent album launch by Katy Perry.

While Domino has many different rules, the general idea is that each player draws a number of dominoes from a stack and then places them on the table in front of them. The first player, determined either by drawing of lots or by the holder of the heaviest hand, then plays the first tile on the table. This starts a chain reaction as other players follow suit, each time playing a domino that has either a value showing on both of its ends or that matches the previous tile played.

Dominoes can be used to create a variety of art forms, including straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, and even 3D structures like towers and pyramids. When creating a design, it is important to consider the way in which dominoes will be able to tumble in order to ensure that the design functions properly.

While the concept of Dominoes is simple, a successful domino project requires careful planning and meticulous execution. Hevesh spends months constructing her largest installations, and she carefully tests each element before placing it on the table. She even makes 3-D sections on a flat piece of cardboard to test how the dominoes will fall before putting them together on the table. Physicist Stephen Morris, who has studied dominoes, explains that gravity is the key to each domino’s success: “When a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy based on its position. When you knock it over, it has kinetic energy which causes other dominoes to fall.”