Domino is an ancient family of games, cousins to playing cards, that have remained popular throughout the centuries. From professional domino competition to the casual setup and knocking over of a row of dominoes, the game provides a challenge that tests both patience and skill. The markings on each domino, known as pips, originally represented the results of throwing two six-sided dice. Larger sets feature Arabic numerals for easier identification.
While there are many different games that can be played with dominoes, the most common form of play involves a chain reaction. Each player places a tile on the table so that it touches one end of an existing domino chain. This chain grows longer as each tile is played in turn. Once a domino is played, it becomes part of the chain and can be knocked over at any time.
A domino can be placed vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. A horizontally-placed domino has open ends on either side, while a diagonally-placed domino has open ends at both top and bottom. The shape of a domino chain changes according to how the tiles are positioned, as well as how each player plays his or her tiles.
Most people are familiar with the traditional asymmetrical rectangular domino set, but there are also some asymmetrical round domino sets available. These are a little more difficult to play, as the round shapes can make it more challenging to maintain an even domino chain. Traditionally, dominoes were made of ivory, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl), bone, or a dark hardwood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips. More recently, sets have been crafted from marble, granite, soapstone, or other natural materials.
In order to create a mind-blowing domino installation, Hevesh uses a version of the engineering-design process. First, she considers the theme or purpose of an installation, then brainstorms images and words she might use in her design. She then makes test versions of each section before assembling the whole thing. By testing the individual sections in slow motion, she can make precise corrections if something doesn’t work.
When a domino falls, most of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. This energy is transmitted to the next domino, giving it the push it needs to fall. Then the next domino gets that push, and then the next… until the chain reaction comes to a halt.
For a writer, this means that plotting a novel is like putting together a series of dominoes. Whether you’re a pantser who writes without an outline, or a meticulous outlining planner using software like Scrivener, plotting a story comes down to the same question: What happens next? A good novel answers this question in a way that is compelling and interesting.
A domino is a symbol of power and control. It’s a powerful reminder of the effect that a single event can have on its surroundings, and of the importance of thinking ahead.