Domino is a small wood or plastic block with two square ends, each marked by dots resembling those on dice. These are called the “pips” and their sum, if any, determines the value of the domino. The most common set has 28 pieces, each with six pips and one blank end. A piece with more pips is said to have higher rank, while a blank end indicates that it is lower in rank or has none.
A domino is normally played by two players, each taking turns in order. During the turn, a domino must be laid edge to edge against another, so that the two touching sides match (i.e., a “one’s” side touches a “two’s” side, or a “two’s” touch a “three’s” side). The exposed dots on the exposed edges are then added up to form the total of the Domino. In some games the Domino may be made a wild card, and the player can ascribe any value to it.
The point of the game is to score as many points as possible by laying the dominoes in a line, or chain, which must be completed at the end of the turn. Usually the points are awarded to those who have the lowest combined total of all of their remaining Dominoes, but there are several other rules that can be used to award the winners. Usually, when a player cannot lay a Domino, they pass the turn to an opponent.
When Hevesh creates her amazing domino displays, she must first place thousands of the unmoving blocks right where she wants them. This is because each domino has inertia, a force that causes them to resist motion unless some outside energy acts on them. Once Hevesh places them, all she has to do is tip one ever so slightly and it falls to the ground with a beautiful cascade of rhythmic motion.
In writing, dominoes are a powerful analogy for any action that causes the next scene to develop in a predictable way. This concept is known as the Domino Effect. For example, if a character in a story uncovers a clue to the case they are investigating, the next scene must reveal something about that evidence or explain how it will impact the case. Otherwise, the reader will feel as if the plot is being thrown together randomly.
Dominoes can be made of a variety of materials, but the most common are bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or ebony. Traditionally, European-style domino sets have been made from these materials because of their aesthetics and their durability. More recently, however, dominoes have been made from other natural and synthetic materials, such as melamine, acrylic resins or polymer clay. The latter are often colored, giving them a distinctive look and texture. Nevertheless, most people continue to prefer the traditional natural material for their beauty and weight. These sets also have the advantage of being cheaper than their synthetic counterparts.