The Art of Dominoes


A domino is a small rectangular block, generally 28 in number, with one face marked by an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice and the other blank or identically patterned. It is a piece used in a game of chance or skill played on a table top by two to more players. A series of these tiles, arranged in a line, is called a domino chain. Each player may only play a tile onto the chain positioning it so that its end touches a previous domino of the same kind (i.e., a “one’s touch ones” or “two’s touch two’s”).

Dominoes have a long history in both English and French. Both terms have been borrowed from Latin, where the word domino means “heavy.” A domino is so named because when a single piece of a long chain is knocked over, the rest soon fall. This phenomenon, often called the Domino Effect, has been observed in a variety of areas, from behavior to politics.

The most basic Western domino games involve a random draw of the required number of pieces, then play by turns. Each player is a little different in their approach to the game; some prefer to build large chains, others to “chip out” with as few pieces as possible. Play stops when a player cannot continue, or when a person has no more pieces to play (and has thus won the game). The remaining tiles, not yet played, are known as the boneyard or stock.

While many people enjoy a good game of domino, some are taken by the creative potential of this simple game and develop a career as a domino artist. Lily Hevesh, for example, began playing domino with her grandparents when she was 9 years old and now creates intricate setups that are featured in movies and television shows. She has also created a YouTube channel where she shares her skills with the public.

As an adult, she has also developed a successful business that provides customized domino art for events, businesses, and even individuals. She has a team of designers that work to create unique designs and patterns for each client, including curved lines, grids that form pictures, or 3D structures.

A key to domino art is to start with a design in mind, and then use the tiles to make it come to life. Hevesh also emphasizes using a hard surface to lay the dominoes on, as it is easier to stand them up and move them around.

For those interested in domino as a strategy for business, the concept of starting with one thing that will lead to more is quite useful. This video presents an interesting demonstration of how one domino can generate enough energy to “knock over” much larger dominoes. By focusing on the most important things first, you can free up time to take care of other things that are less urgent. This is a useful strategy for deciding what to publish and also when evaluating new projects.