The domino effect is a classic example of the way in which events can cascade from one to another, creating a chain reaction that leads to certain outcomes. In some cases, dominoes are set up in a carefully sequenced manner to show off a complex and beautiful domino effect before an audience of admirers. When you think of dominoes, you probably think about the various games that can be played with them. These games range from the simple to the extremely complex and involve a wide variety of skills, including number recognition, spatial awareness, and timing.
The first step in a domino game is to place a domino down on a flat surface, such as a table or floor. Each domino has a series of pips, or dots, that indicate what the domino should do when it falls. Most people are familiar with the standard Double Six domino set, but larger sets exist that contain more than 55 tiles.
When a person begins to play a domino game, the goal is to set up a line of tiles that will fall in a precise order. This is called a layout. Dominoes can be laid out in a straight line, a curve, or even stacked into 3D structures such as towers and pyramids.
There are countless domino games that can be played, but the most common types of layout games fall into two categories: blocking games and scoring games. Blocking games, such as matador, chicken foot, and Mexican train, require players to empty their hands of dominoes while blocking the opponent’s play. Scoring games, such as bergen and muggins, allow players to score points by counting the number of pips on each lost domino.
Physicist Stephen Morris, who has worked on projects using up to 300,000 dominoes, says that one physical phenomenon is essential to the success of a domino setup: gravity. Gravity pulls each domino toward the ground, and this energy is transferred into kinetic energy as it causes each domino to topple.
When Hevesh places her dominoes, she sets them up with the goal of creating an intricate design when they finally fall. She has to set them up with a lot of care, because once they’re positioned, the slightest nudge can cause thousands of pieces to fall in a perfect, flowing pattern.
Hevesh has designed domino art that includes curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, and even 3D structures like towers and pyramids. She’s also worked on a project that holds the Guinness World Record for most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement: 76,017.
While it’s not easy to create these designs, it’s not as difficult as you might think. The key is to start with a small, simple domino layout and work your way up. You can then make adjustments to the layout to see how different variables affect your results. For instance, try putting the first domino on its side instead of setting it up vertically. Then, experiment with the speed at which each domino moves and how much force is required to move it forward a little bit.