The Basics of Domino
Domino is a game played with rectangular blocks of wood or plastic, each bearing from one to six dots or pips. A complete set consists of 28 such pieces. Each player draws a domino from the stock, adding it to his hand. The first play is made by the domino with the heaviest value. Rules for the many variations of domino games vary, but all follow the same basic pattern. The heaviest domino may be played as either a double or a single, depending on the game.
Dominoes are generally twice as long as they are wide, allowing them to be easily stacked and re-stacked after use. Each domino has a line in the middle to divide it visually into two square ends, each with a different value based on the number of dots or pips. The values of the ends are known as ranks or weights, with a higher rank carrying more value than a lower one.
In a game of domino, the player has to build a chain or line of tiles, starting with his own heaviest piece. When that piece is played, it sets off a chain reaction that continues down the line until all the dominoes are in place and ready to be played. The process of constructing such a chain is often called “setting,” “putting down” or “leading.”
Each domino in the chain can be displaced by another piece, but once a particular chain is established, it becomes very difficult to alter. That is why a player must take care not to make mistakes when placing his tiles.
If a mistake is made, the correct tile must be recalled and replaced in its proper place, or the error will stand. The same is true of a piece that is played out of turn. If it is discovered before the next player makes a play, it must be recalled and returned to its proper place in the stock.
When a domino is toppled, much of its potential energy converts into kinetic energy, the energy that causes the rest of the dominoes to topple over as well. This is similar to the way a nerve impulse travels along an axon, transmitting its message down the length of the strand and stimulating each of its terminal cells to fire. The process is known as the Domino Effect, which can be applied to any situation where a small trigger causes a larger cascade of events.
Nick used his own version of the Domino Effect when he created his amazing domino sculptures. He began by considering the theme or purpose of each piece and brainstorming images or words that might convey those ideas. Next, he considered the materials and tools he would need to realize his vision. Using his grandmother’s garage as his workshop, he devised a system for working with the limited space and tools available to him. His method is simple enough that other amateur craftsmen might be able to use it as a model for their own projects.