A small rectangular block, either wood or plastic, bearing from one to six pips or dots (as those on a die) and blank on the other face. The domino is the basic unit of a game of skill and chance, generally played by two players or more, with the aim of being the first to lay down all their tiles in a straight line across the table or to a curve. A domino set contains 28 such blocks. Domino is also the name of various games played with them, as well as a type of costume worn by the person who “dominoes” during a masquerade ball or similar event.
Domino’s popularity has exploded in recent years, thanks to the availability of online domino templates and video tutorials that make it possible for almost anyone to create spectacular domino sets on their computers. It’s even become a sport, with contests to see who can build the largest and most elaborate set.
Lily Hevesh, who runs the popular YouTube channel Hevesh5, started collecting dominoes when she was 9 years old and soon began creating her own masterpieces. She’s now a professional domino artist and has designed sets for movies, TV shows and events, including an album launch for singer Katy Perry.
She says she’s drawn to dominoes because they’re a way to express creativity and show off her skills. When she’s making a new set, Hevesh tests each section individually by setting up the big 3-D sections and then adding flat arrangements. She’ll often film these tests in slow motion so she can check that everything works properly.
When the test pieces are ready, Hevesh will then flick the first domino and watch it fall. Then she starts putting the rest of the pieces in place. This can take weeks, or even months, depending on the size of the project. The most complicated installations involve hundreds of dominoes.
There are many different games played with dominoes, some of which involve a great deal of strategy and luck, while others focus solely on positional play. Most of these games are adaptations of card games, which were once popular in some areas to circumvent religious proscriptions against playing cards.
The simplest domino variant is the Block game, in which each player starts with seven dominoes from a double-six set and then alternately extends the line by placing a tile matching one of its ends. The winner is the player who can play their last tile, or the game ends when it reaches a point where neither player can continue. Another popular game is the Draw game, in which a player who cannot place their next tile passes and then picks up sleeping dominoes from the table to add to their hand. These dominoes can be used in the next turn to make a chain that will eventually result in a win for their partner. In some games, the number of pips on an end of a domino can determine what kind of domino must be played to it.