Domino is a game of skill and strategy that has a long history and many variations. The most basic game requires a double-six set of dominoes, which are shuffled and then arranged in a row called the stock or boneyard. Each player draws a tile and then makes a play. The order of play is determined by the rules of the particular game being played. The winner is the player who has the fewest pips at the end of his or her last domino played.

When a domino is first matched with another, the side of that domino with pips must be face up. The pips are numbered from one to six, and each tile has either a blank side or an identically patterned side. When a domino is flipped over, the numbers on the pips are revealed. This allows players to determine whether they have a match or not, and if they do, to begin playing that piece.

A player can match a domino by matching its open end to the open end of another domino already on the table or in his hand, a process known as placing. Depending on the game, this may be done for any reason, including removing an opponent’s match from the line of play or replacing a lost domino. This action is also referred to as setting, putting down or leading.

The term “domino” is often used to describe the process of a domino falling, but the word itself has an even more colorful history. In addition to its current sense of a game, the word was once used in English to refer to a long hooded cloak worn together with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade. In French, it also had an earlier meaning as a cape worn by a priest over his or her surplice.

As a result of this varied history, dominoes come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. They are usually made from a combination of natural materials such as silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl), ivory and a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips that can be inlaid or painted. More recently, sets have been made from plastics such as acrylic or melamine.

When Hevesh creates her mind-blowing domino setups, she follows a version of the engineering-design process. She begins by considering the theme or purpose of the installation, then brainstorms images or words she wants to use and plans out how to arrange the dominoes. She might include grids that form pictures, walls or 3-D structures like towers and pyramids. When she lays down the first domino, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, which is transmitted to the next domino in the chain until it finally falls. This is why her largest installations can take several nail-biting minutes to fall. This is the domino effect, and it demonstrates how small actions can have huge effects in the world of dominoes.