The Art of Domino

Domino is a tile-based game, played on a flat surface such as a table or board. Like playing cards, of which they are a variant, dominoes bear identifying marks on one side and are blank or identically patterned on the other. The identifying marks, called spots or pips, are in an arrangement like those on a die, except that some squares are blank (indicated by a zero). Most dominoes feature a line across the center, visually dividing the identity-bearing face into two square halves, each marked with an arrangement of spots, or pips, like those used on a die, but some dominoes may lack this mark entirely.

Dominoes are molded or drilled to produce uniform markings that are then painted, usually in white on a black background. Domino sets usually contain 28 tiles, although larger versions are available to allow for longer and more complex layout games. In addition to the basic set, special-purpose dominoes are available in various shapes and sizes for specific uses, such as tiling a room or creating a display.

During the Great Depression, dominoes were widely popular in many places around the world. Unlike many other games of chance at the time, these tiles could be played in almost any language or social class and offered an affordable way for people to spend their spare time and make friends. The popularity of the game increased with the advent of cheaper, more reliable transport and the growth in the number of automobiles. The proliferation of the game was also fueled by a growing interest in gambling and the availability of online versions of the game.

Hevesh first became interested in dominoes when she was seven and began collecting them. She has since built her collection to include more than 100 different types of dominoes. Her work has garnered her millions of fans on YouTube, where she posts videos of the intricate domino setups she creates. She has also designed and built dominoes for movies, television shows and events, and she holds a Guinness World Record for the largest circular domino set.

When Hevesh starts a new project, she follows a version of the engineering-design process. She considers the theme or purpose of the installation, brainstorms images or words that might relate to the subject, and then works out how she can achieve her goal. Each domino is then carefully positioned and glued, often taking several nail-biting minutes to ensure that the entire layout will fall in place.

When a domino is placed, it exerts energy that travels down its length until the other pieces of the chain can transfer this energy to them. This energy, which is also referred to as potential energy, converts to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. When the first domino is finally knocked over by a second piece, this energy provides the push that completes the domino chain. In a more abstract sense, this same principle applies to the plot of a novel. If the characters don’t interact with each other in ways that raise tension and ratchet up the stakes, the story is unlikely to engage the reader.