The word domino is a compound of two Latin roots that mean “fall over,” or “control.” The name is apt, as it describes the effect of one thing toppling another. When a series of dominoes are arranged properly, they can form long lines that topple over in succession. These are often used to create intricate designs or to play games. The term has also come to refer to a chain reaction in which one event influences and leads to other events that are much larger in scope. For example, the collapse of the Soviet Union caused many other countries to follow suit, leading to a world with fewer nations and less economic stability.

Dominoes are small rectangular blocks used as gaming objects. They are normally twice as long as wide, making them easy to stack after use. Each is engraved with a line in the center to divide it visually into two squares, or ends. These ends are usually dotted or marked with numbers to indicate their values. The values range from six pips to none or blank (the value of a domino is sometimes called its rank). A set of dominoes may be made from a variety of materials. They may be made of polymer clay, stone, wood (e.g., ebony), bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl or MOP), ivory or other natural materials. Sets made from these materials are often much heavier than those made of polymer clay and tend to be more expensive.

When a player places a domino, the ends of the tiles must match each other (one’s touch one’s and two’s touch two’s). If the exposed ends total a multiple of five or three, the player scores points. The domino chain can develop a snake-line shape according to the whims of the players and limitations of the playing surface.

Dominoes have been played in many parts of the world for hundreds of years. They became popular in Europe during the 18th Century. The game moved from Italy to France, where it became a fad. The French developed a type of puzzle in which the players placed tiles based on arithmetic properties of the pips, such as totals of lines of tile halves or line of dominoes.

Today, dominoes are played by people of all ages. Some play them for fun, while others use them to practice math and strategy skills. Some even take their dominoes to the next level, creating stunning displays and mind-blowing layouts. For example, Hevesh creates elaborate domino setups for movies, television shows and other special events. Her YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers, and she recently created a massive setup for the album launch of pop star Katy Perry. Hevesh follows a version of the engineering-design process when creating her large domino layouts. She first tests each individual section of her installations. She then places the biggest 3-D sections first, followed by flat arrangements and finally the domino lines that connect all of the sections together.