Domino, a word that sounds like it should be an adjective for a large pizza chain, is actually the name of a type of game played with a set of square tiles. The game can be played in various ways, but the most basic involves matching ends and laying down lines or angular patterns of tiles. Dominoes can also be used to make 3D structures, such as towers and pyramids.
While many games go by different names in different parts of the world, most share a core set of rules. The number of tiles and the way they are arranged determines how the game is played, but the basic principles are the same in all variations. For example, the highest double is always played first for the opening of a new line, but the game can change direction after that, depending on the rules.
Most domino games involve a lot of strategy and planning. Unlike card games, dominoes cannot be rearranged after they are splayed out; once a player has laid down one tile, it must stay put until another tile is placed upon it. In the most popular game, the goal is to build a line of matching numbers from one end to the other. However, there are many variants of this game that require the players to match a specific amount of pips, or dots, on each piece.
In addition to strategy, the way that the dominoes are positioned contributes to the enjoyment of the game. For example, a player must carefully place the tile on the table so that its two matching ends touch. Singles can be played lengthwise, while doubles must be placed cross-ways across the middle of the tile. The resulting chain develops a snake-like shape, which provides part of the fun for all players.
Some people use dominoes to create amazing art, such as straight or curved lines that form pictures when the pieces fall. Others construct complex designs that include stacked walls or even 3D structures. To create these arrangements, the artist must plan out the entire project on paper. To do this, he or she must consider the size of the track, the number of dominoes needed, and how they will be arranged.
Once the design is finalized, the artist must then physically arrange the dominoes on the track, or “domino mat.” This may take several nail-biting minutes, as the dominoes must be positioned just right to allow them to fall into place with minimal effort. Hevesh says that the most important physical force at play in her mind-blowing installations is gravity, which pulls a knocked-over domino toward Earth and pushes it onto the next one, setting off a chain reaction.
In most domino games, the winner is determined by counting the total number of pips on the lost players’ tiles. Usually, only the left-most or right-most domino of each pair counts, and one end of a double is not counted (for example, 6-4 would score only 4 points). Some games are scored by counting the total number of pips remaining in the loser’s hand after a game is finished.