A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block, typically 28 in number, with one side bearing an arrangement of dots like those on dice. The other side is blank or patterned identically to the first side. When used in a game, each domino has a value indicated by the number of spots on its face and is able to be laid across or over another domino of equal or lesser value to create a chain of “toppings,” or knocked over dominoes. Several types of games are played with these tiles. Each has a set of rules and can be very complex, requiring strategic planning and fast reactions from players.
The idiom domino effect describes a series of events that starts with a relatively minor trigger and ultimately leads to much greater–and sometimes catastrophic–consequences. For example, a politician might use the term to describe how a foreign policy decision in one country could have consequences in other countries that are difficult to predict. Alternatively, writers can use the idiom domino to describe how a simple action in one part of a novel can affect many other characters or events in the story.
Dominoes are used as toys for children, who enjoy stacking them on end in long lines. When the first domino is tipped over, it sets off a chain reaction that results in all the other dominoes falling over as well. This process gives rise to the famous image of a line of dominoes falling over, which is often used to illustrate how quickly a situation can spiral out of control.
Adults also play domino, which is a game that involves matching up pairs of dominoes of the same number. The first player to successfully play all of his or her dominoes wins the game. Each player begins by drawing a domino from the boneyard, or stock, and then places it on the table so that its matching end touches an adjacent domino of the same number. When a player cannot or chooses not to play a domino, that player “chips out” and play passes to the opponent.
When an entire set of dominoes is arranged to form a track or layout, it’s called domino art. It can be as simple or as elaborate as the creator desires and can include straight lines, curved tracks, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, or 3D structures like towers or pyramids. When creating a domino art setup, it’s important to consider the purpose and theme of the installation before starting. For example, a child’s domino track might be made of brightly colored blocks that represent various animals or the alphabet. In contrast, a business’s domino art might be designed to highlight the company’s logo or product offerings.
When Hevesh is designing her mind-blowing domino creations, she uses a variation of the engineering-design process. She considers the theme or purpose of an installation and brainstorms images or words that might be used to portray that idea. Then she draws out a sketch of the track, including arrows showing how the dominoes should fall. As the project progresses, she checks in with the client to ensure that the final design reflects the vision she had originally drawn out on paper.