The Domino Effect


The domino effect is a force that causes one event to trigger a chain reaction. The result can be something small, like a single domino tipping over, or huge, such as the end of an empire.

Domino is a game played with a set of small rectangular blocks, typically 28 in number. They are sometimes called bones, cards, men, or tiles, and they can be used in a variety of games. The individual dominoes have a square face on one side and are blank or marked with an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice. They can be joined edge to edge or across each other to form a line of play. A domino’s value is determined by the number of pips on its open end.

The first domino played sets up a pattern of lines, and the rest of the players follow that same pattern, playing their own dominoes as they see fit. The line of play continues to grow until one player plays a domino that matches the last tile played and then falls over, creating a new pattern in the line. The rules vary from game to game, but most involve matching pips and blocking opponents’ plays. Many also involve counting the pips in the losers’ hands to determine points.

There are even domino games that replicate card games, including the popular deck-building games of slapjack and poker. Some are scoring games, such as bergen and muggins, in which players compete to be the first to empty their hand; others, such as Mexican train and chicken foot, help kids learn numbers and math skills.

Physicist Stephen Morris agrees that a domino can have potential energy, and when it is stood upright against the pull of gravity, it stores that potential energy until someone knocks it over. Then that potential energy is converted to kinetic energy and the domino falls, starting the chain reaction that leads to the next domino falling.

Lily Hevesh began collecting and building dominoes at age 9. Her hobby turned into a career when she started posting videos of her creations on YouTube. Her channel now has more than 2 million subscribers, and she creates spectacular domino setups for movies, TV shows, and events—including an album launch for Katy Perry.

A domino is a rectangular block with a trough that holds one or more pegs. The word derives from the Latin domini, meaning “heavy” or “powerful.” Compared to a standard card, a domino has more pips, which can be added together to form a total. The pips on the face of a domino are arranged in a particular pattern that makes it easy to identify.

Dominos are normally made from a material such as wood or plastic, and the pieces may be printed with any number of designs or colors. Some are engraved with symbols such as hearts, flowers, or angels, while others are painted. In the past, dominoes were carved from ivory, but this practice is now prohibited in most countries.