How Dominoes Work
Dominoes are a classic toy that can be used in a variety of games. They can be arranged in straight lines or curved, grids that form pictures when they fall, and even 3D structures like towers and pyramids. Dominoes are also frequently used as components in Rube Goldberg machines. But the most interesting use of domino is in a phenomenon known as the “domino effect.” The domino effect describes any action that causes subsequent actions to happen, much like dominoes falling in a line. Whether you’re planning your novel off the cuff or carefully outlining, considering how the domino effect works can help make your story more compelling.
The game of domino is usually played by two or more players, and the goal is to score points by putting down tiles so that they touch each other at their ends, creating a chain of spots. The number of exposed dots on each end is then counted and if the chains reach a certain value (normally a multiple of five) the player scores that amount. The player with the highest score wins the game.
It is unclear when and where the game of domino was first invented, but it is likely that it developed from a similar game using dice. In fact, the markings on a domino tile (called pips) originally represented the results of throwing two six-sided dice. The game has been popular for centuries and continues to be played all over the world.
Many variations of the game exist, but most involve drawing a number and then picking the heaviest domino from the hand and placing it on the table to start the chain. Then, in turn, each player draws another domino from their hand and places it on the table if it is heaviest. If the first player has a double-six, it is played, but if the player doesn’t have one, they play the next heaviest domino in their hand: a double-five or a double-four.
Dominoes can be a great tool for teaching children the basics of counting and addition. They can also help develop fine motor skills and visual acuity as kids play with them and set up elaborate constructions. But perhaps the most important reason for children to play with domino is that it’s fun!
Lily Hevesh first began playing with dominoes when she was nine years old. Her grandparents had a classic 28-pack, and she loved the feeling of setting up a line of dominoes, flicking the first domino over, and watching the rest of the set cascade down in a perfect rhythm. She now has more than 2 million YouTube subscribers, and she creates spectacular domino setups for films, TV shows, and events—including an album launch for Katy Perry.