The Art of Domino


Domino, from the Latin dominum meaning “power,” refers to a type of game played with small wooden or clay tiles marked with spots or pips. They are placed in a line on the table and then a single domino is flipped over, touching each other or other dominoes along its sides. As the dominoes touch each other they become part of a chain reaction, causing more and more dominoes to fall until the entire line collapses. Domino is a popular pastime for families and individuals, and can be played in many ways.

Dominoes are available in a variety of materials, but classic domino sets are traditionally made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips (inlaid or painted). Some sets use metals or ceramic clay, but such sets are rare and expensive. Plastic and polymer dominoes are common, but these have less of a traditional look.

For a truly spectacular domino effect, the lines of dominoes must be carefully set up in a straight or curved pattern. This is what is known as a domino show, and they can take several nail-biting minutes to complete. One woman who has mastered this skill is Hevesh, a domino artist who creates incredible displays for movies and TV shows, as well as events such as the album launch for pop star Katy Perry.

Hevesh has created mind-blowing domino setups that involve thousands of dominoes, all of which must eventually tumble in a careful sequence. She says that one physical phenomenon is key to creating these intricate domino arrangements: gravity. When a domino is stood upright, it has potential energy (stored energy based on its position). As the domino falls, much of that energy is converted to kinetic energy (the energy of motion), which causes the next domino to topple and so on until the whole arrangement collapses.

The first player to play all of their dominoes wins the game. In the case of a two-player game, the players play until the sum of all spots on each remaining domino is the least, or until one player chips out. Then the other player takes over play until they chip out too, and so on.

Before a domino game begins, the tiles are mixed up. This is called shuffling. Then each player draws a hand of seven dominoes to determine who plays first. The player who draws the highest double goes first, while the person who draws the lowest domino gets to go last.

Domino’s Pizza has a strong focus on listening to customers, and this has paid off for the company. The Detroit Free Press recently featured a story about how Domino’s CEO has promoted this value in his company. In fact, he has sent himself out to Domino’s locations across the country to listen to employees and customers. This has helped the company turn around a number of restaurants that had been struggling with low sales and poor customer service.