The Domino Effect


When you think of domino, you likely think of a game where, after tipping the first piece ever-so-slightly, the rest fall in a beautiful cascade of rhythmic motion. But the word “domino” can also be applied to any chain reaction, whether in a physical setting such as a line of falling dominoes or a metaphorical one such as the events that follow the crash of an airplane. This is the “domino effect.”

Dominoes have a long history as a popular pastime. The earliest records of them come from China, but the game was probably brought to Europe much later by a trade route that brought Chinese porcelain to Italy and then to France and England.

The game consists of a set of rectangular pieces with a number of dots or “pips” on each side. Most sets feature two suits of pips – for example, threes and ones. Each tile can belong to either suit, and the matching ends must touch each other to be played. When a player can’t play the next tile (either because of lack of matching or a full deck), he or she “knocks” and the turn passes to the opposing player. The game ends when a player is unable to play and, in most cases, the winners are the partners whose combined total of remaining dominoes is lowest.

Domino games can be as simple or as complex as the players make them. Some are arranged as straight lines or curved lines, grids that form pictures when they topple, or 3D structures like towers and pyramids.

Some people even use dominoes to create art. The YouTube video channel Hevesh5 features a young woman who is a professional domino artist who has created spectacular setups for movies, TV shows, and events such as an album launch by Katy Perry. Hevesh’s largest creations can take several nail-biting minutes to tumble to their natural end.

While domino is a fun and challenging game to play, it’s also a useful way to practice strategy and problem-solving skills. It’s important to keep in mind that just because a particular tile has the highest value doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best choice. It’s often better to place a lower-value tile in front of it to protect an adjacent piece from being hit by a later tile. This will help you to build a chain of successful moves and avoid an undesirable outcome. Then, when you’re ready, challenge yourself to create something even more complex! You might surprise yourself how well you do. Good luck!