Dominoes are small, rectangular game pieces used to play a variety of games. They’re typically lined up in long lines and tipped over one by one. That simple action has a larger consequence: the next domino in line gets tipped, which causes it to knock over the next, and so on. This process has inspired the term “domino effect,” which describes a chain reaction that can lead to unforeseen consequences.
Hevesh started playing with dominoes when she was 9. She loved arranging them in straight or curved lines and flicking them over to watch the entire chain fall. As she got older, her interest grew into a passion and she began creating mind-blowing domino setups on YouTube. Now, she has more than 2 million subscribers and creates domino art for movies, TV shows, and even for pop stars like Katy Perry.
When Hevesh sets up one of her domino designs, she starts by considering its theme or purpose. She then brainstorms images or words she might want to incorporate into the design. She also calculates how many dominoes she’ll need for the design.
Each domino has a number of spots or pips on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. The number of pips tells the domino’s rank, or value. A domino with more pips is considered to be heavier or higher in rank than a domino with fewer pips.
Dominoes come in different shapes and sizes, but the most common type is a rectangular block with anywhere from zero to six pips on each end. A traditional domino set contains 28 pieces. The pieces are typically twice as long as they’re wide, making them easier to stack after use.
The most basic Western domino set includes one unique piece for each possible combination of numbers from one to six, plus a blank or “ticket” piece. Other sets, such as the deluxe double-six set, contain more than two dozen unique dominoes.
To play a domino game, the pieces are arranged in a line with the first domino on its right side. The second domino, if necessary, is placed on top of the first, with its pips matched up to those of the first domino. The last domino, if needed, is placed on the left side with its pips matching those of the second domino.
A domino is only as strong as its weakest link. If a domino is too large, it can’t be pushed over without collapsing in an uncontrolled way. But if the first domino is the right size, it can be pushed over by a much smaller, lighter domino. This is because the energy of the first domino, as it slides and slips against other dominoes, gets converted to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. That kinetic energy is transferred to the next domino, providing the push it needs to fall. As each domino moves down the line, its energy continues to transfer from one to the next until the final domino falls.