Dominoes are small rectangular blocks with either a blank or marked surface. Each end has a number of spots, called pips, that match the numbers on dice. A domino can be used to play many different games, from simple scoring games to complex strategy games. Each game requires a specific set of rules, which are generally agreed upon at the beginning of the game. When a player can no longer add to their hand, they “chip out” and pass the turn. Eventually, the game ends when no players are able to play any more.
Hevesh started playing with dominoes when she was 9 years old. Her grandparents had a set of 28 classic dominoes, and she loved setting them up in straight or curved lines and flicking them over to watch the entire cascade. “It was like magic,” she says.
When she grew up, Hevesh took her love of dominoes to the internet, creating YouTube videos of her amazing domino creations. She now has more than 2 million subscribers and creates stunning pieces for customers worldwide.
But even for Hevesh, the most magical aspect of a domino is what happens when you touch just one domino. Just like a nerve impulse in your body, when a domino hits its tipping point, it creates an energy pulse that travels down the line, knocking over each domino it touches along the way. This energy transfer is called a chain reaction, and it can produce spectacular displays of domino art.
The first step in making a domino is to determine who will make the first play, which depends on the rules of the particular game being played. Typically, the player with the highest double in their hand will make the first play. Some games also have a rule that the first play must be made by the player with an open end (the side of the tile that faces up) next to an open end from a previous tile.
Once the order of play is determined, each player draws a domino from the stock and places it in their hand. If a player has more than the minimum required number of tiles, they must return the excess to the stock and draw again. If there is a tie for the best hand, the winner is chosen by the player who draws the heaviest domino.
When a domino is placed in the line of play, it is called “setting.” As players continue to add tiles to the line of play, a pattern is formed, which is referred to as the layout or string. The layout of the dominoes can be changed depending on the game, but the pattern of the open ends remains the same. In most cases, a single tile can only be added to an existing double. However, some games allow a player to add a single domino to an existing triple.