# The Many Uses of Dominoes

Gambling Aug 21, 2024

A domino is a small rectangular block marked with groups of spots on one side. It’s used to play several different games.

We’ve all seen those marvelous domino constructions where, by simply tipping the first piece ever-so-slightly, all the rest fall in a beautiful cascade of rhythmic motion. In fact, that’s where the phrase “domino effect” originated: any action that, like a domino, causes all other actions to follow in a similar manner. But the word has a broader meaning, and can be applied to any sequence of events that have similar effects.

Dominoes are a great way to introduce the concept of causality to children. Children love to stack them on end in long lines, and then watch them tumble over each other in a spectacular display. They can even create their own designs with the pieces.

Adults use dominoes to play various games, most of which have a logical or mathematical basis. The rules of domino vary by country and even by game, but most involve the laying down of one tile (called a “tile” or a “block”) next to another in such a way that their edges match or form some other total, usually a number. A player can win a hand by playing all the tiles in his or her hand, or by blocking other players from making additional plays. In the latter case, the blocking player calls “Out!” or “I win!” and puts his or her domino in the bone yard, a collection of dominoes that has been blocked by other tiles.

When it comes to domino art, Hevesh is a master. Her YouTube videos showcase her mind-blowing creations, including elaborate domino setups for movies and music events.

Hevesh follows a version of the engineering-design process when she develops her installations, and then tests each section before adding it to the larger design. Often, she takes her videos in slow motion, so she can make precise corrections if something isn’t working properly.

Before a game of domino begins, each player draws the number of tiles required for his or her hand, as explained by the specific rules of the game being played. Sometimes, a player may draw more tiles than he or she is entitled to, which is called an overdraw. The player with the highest double starts the game. If no double is available, the player with the heaviest single begins play. Players may also agree to buy (see “Buying and Passing” below) a domino before the start of a game, in which case it is placed face down until needed.