A domino is a small rectangular piece of wood or plastic with either a blank side or a pattern of dots that resemble those on dice. It is one of the components of a game in which players try to score points by arranging them end to end into a row or line, then knocking over all of the opposing player’s tiles. The player who scores the most is declared the winner of the round. There are many different games of domino, and they may be played in a variety of formats. Some are blocking games, like bergen and muggins, in which the goal is to empty your opponent’s hand while blocking his or her play. Others are scoring games, such as Mexican train, in which the player who amasses the most points over a series of rounds wins.
The word domino is also used as a verb, meaning “to dominate” or “to take over.” It is the basis for several idioms, including “spread out like a deck of cards,” which refers to an event that occurs quickly and spreads. The word is also commonly found in technical literature, where it describes a system of software that allows users to store data and process it with code, storing the results as another type of file.
When Hevesh designs her mind-boggling domino arrangements, she follows a sort of engineering-design process. She starts by considering the purpose or theme of her design. Then she brainstorms images or words that might be associated with it. Finally, she draws a plan for the layout. Once she has a plan, Hevesh test-lays each section of the dominoes to make sure they work correctly. The largest sections of her installations can take several nail-biting minutes to fall.
Hevesh says that the domino effect is the key to her successful projects. When a domino falls, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy and pushes the next domino over, setting off a chain reaction. The more energy a domino has, the faster it will fall.
The Domino Effect
Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or follow a meticulous outline, plotting is important for domino writing. Plotting your story helps you answer the question, “What happens next?” Using the domino effect in fiction can help you craft an engaging and compelling story.
The value of a domino is determined by the number of spots, or pips, it has on both ends. The most common variant of domino, called double-six, has a total of 12 spots, but it can have as few as six or as many as 14 (doubles count as either one or two). Other types of domino may have different pips or no pips at all. Some games use more than the basic double-six set; progressively larger sets are usually made by adding extra pieces with increased values on the exposed ends. This enables more complex games to be played and increases the number of ways the end of a domino can be configured.