When the first domino falls, it triggers a chain reaction that causes all the others to tumble over in rhythmic, symmetrical fashion. This domino effect is a key component of storytelling. It helps readers understand why characters behave the way they do, and what will happen next. The domino effect is also an important tool for creating tension in a story.
The word domino is also used to refer to any action or sequence that cascades in a similar manner. You may have seen pictures of people constructing impressive domino art—lines of dominoes that create a specific pattern when they fall, 3D structures like towers and pyramids, and grids that form patterns when they’re laid out. These artistic creations are a wonderful demonstration of the domino effect.
To create a piece of domino art, the artist begins by sketching out a design on paper. This could be as simple as a straight line of dominoes, or more complex like a curved line that forms a shape when it falls or a grid that includes letters and numbers to form a word. The artist then estimates how many dominoes she’ll need for the finished product and calculates where to place them so that they’ll fit together properly.
When it comes to the science of domino, Stephen Morris, a physicist at the University of Toronto, says one physical phenomenon is especially crucial. “When you pick up a domino and stand it upright, it has potential energy based on its position,” he explains. “But when you give it a little nudge, that potential energy is converted to kinetic energy and moves the domino around.”
As the first domino topples, much of its potential energy is transmitted to the domino that follows, giving it the push needed to fall over. The momentum continues until all the dominoes have fallen.
While Domino is a popular game for children, it’s also enjoyed by adults and experts alike. When it’s played correctly, the game requires skill, concentration and careful planning. Players must plan ahead to avoid letting their opponents gain an advantage. A good domino player will also keep an eye on the clock to ensure that they don’t run out of time before finishing their turn.
The game’s simplest version involves a standard set of 28 double-sided dominoes (see image above). Players can use different colored tiles to indicate their turns. During play, each domino must be placed so that it touches both ends of the previous tile and either the end with two groups of dots or the middle of a double. Each tile can be played in only one direction; if you play a single on top of a double, the two matching ends must touch completely to continue the chain. In addition to standard plastic dominoes, sets can be made from natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips.