The Basics of Domino

Dominoes are flat rectangular blocks, each bearing from one to six pips or dots. A complete set of dominoes consists of 28 such pieces. People play a variety of games with them, laying them down in lines and angular patterns. They are sometimes used to make art.

The word domino, like the game itself, comes from France. Its origin is obscure, but it appears to have been derived from the name of the hooded cape worn together with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade. The word may also have come from the Latin dominum, meaning a headdress.

A domino is a rectangular block of wood, stone or other material, typically bearing from one to six pips or symbols (dots). It is the building block of most modern card and board games. Dominoes are traditionally made with ebony blacks and ivory faces, but they are now available in many colors, materials, and shapes. The first dominoes were probably imported into England from France and Italy toward the end of the 18th century.

Many different rules for playing dominoes exist, and they vary according to where people live or from country to country. Some games go by the same name in different parts of the world, even though the rules are not exactly alike.

The heaviest domino starts the play. This is the most common method for breaking ties in positional games such as domino rummy and domino criss-cross. It is also the rule in some poker variations where a player has a choice of starting with a hand or playing a new one.

In some games, all players draw a number of tiles specified by the rules of the game. These are called the stock. Each player then adds these tiles to the ones in his hands. If the player draws a double, he must play it before any other single or double. In some games, a player may “buy” additional tiles from the stock if they are of the right type.

Once the first domino falls, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, the energy of motion. This energy is transmitted to the next domino, giving it the push needed to fall over. The process continues, tile by tile, until the last domino falls.

The falling dominoes model signal transmission in a neuron, a small structure that relays electrical impulses through the long body of each nerve cell. The resulting chain reaction is called an action potential. The dominoes also demonstrate how the neural network of the brain interprets these impulses and makes decisions about what to do next. The process of analyzing and planning a complex domino structure is similar to the way engineers design buildings, bridges and airplanes. Hevesh’s designs range from simple straight lines to curved and angled patterns, grids that form pictures when they fall, and 3D structures such as towers and pyramids. Hevesh creates a prototype of each section of an installation. She tests it to ensure that the pieces work together and then assembles them into larger arrangements.