What is Domino?

A domino is a flat, thumb-sized rectangular block used as a gaming object. The faces of a domino bear from one to six dots, called pips. A complete set of dominoes consists of 28 pieces. The game of domino can be played with any number of players and may be classified into two categories: blocking games and scoring games.

When Lily Hevesh was a kid, her grandparents gave her the classic 28-piece set of dominoes. She enjoyed setting them up in a straight or curved line, then flicking the first one to see the entire sequence fall in a chain reaction.

Hevesh is now a domino artist with more than 2 million YouTube subscribers who creates mind-blowing setups for TV shows, movies and events. She follows a version of the engineering-design process to make her creations, starting with an idea or theme and then brainstorming images or words that might be relevant. She then starts laying down tiles in a pattern that she thinks will best represent the theme or purpose of the installation.

Domino is also a verb that means “to knock over,” and it can refer to the act of playing the game or the action of bringing an arrangement of dominoes down. The term is often used metaphorically to describe a series of events that lead up to something bigger, such as an accident or an illness. It can also refer to an effect that builds on a preexisting cause, such as the phenomenon known as the domino effect in the stock market where one large buy or sell can influence the price of other stocks.

The origins of the word are unclear, but it is probably from the Latin dominus, meaning “lord.” It is often associated with cause and effect, and a person who wields this power is often considered a masterful leader. It is a good idea for anyone who plays domino to always be thinking two moves ahead.

A domino effect can occur literally (an observed series of actual collisions) or metaphorically (causal linkages within systems such as global finance or politics). In the latter case, a domino effect is often illustrated by a picture of a row of falling dominoes.

The most popular set of dominoes contains 28 double-six tiles. Each tile has two ends that can be connected to other tiles. Depending on the game, some of these end points are open for play while others are closed. Most dominoes feature a number on one of their ends, and each domino belongs to both the suit that has this number and the suit that does not.