Domino Effects and Reactions


There are few things more mesmerizing than a domino effect or reaction. Watching hundreds of dominoes arranged in carefully paced rows, awaiting the slightest nudge from one, is enough to leave most viewers with their jaws dropped. Domino shows are a staple of many gaming competitions, and for good reason: It’s impressive to witness such a controlled chaos come together before your eyes. It’s even more impressive when you see a domino builder create such a domino effect or reaction in front of a live audience. The ability to elicit such a domino chain is the result of mastery of multiple skill sets, including math, engineering and physics.

Dominoes are small rectangular blocks used as game pieces, usually in the form of a numbering system or other markings on each side of the face. Each domino has a matching end to another, and the number of dots on each end determines its value in a given game. Some games use all the tiles, while others only require some of them to play. Some game rules define a winning player based on the total points scored.

In the Western world, most people know that a game of domino consists of a line of tiles set up in a row so they can all be placed simultaneously. Each domino has a number of dots on its ends and each end must touch an adjacent end of the next tile in the line. The first tile laid must have the same number of pips on both sides or a double (two adjacent ends with matching numbers). The remaining players then lay tiles in order to score points by filling in their lines.

The word domino is derived from the Latin term dominica, meaning “little king.” Early English and French senses of the word also denoted a long hooded cloak worn with a mask at carnival season or at a masquerade ball. Dominoes were once made with contrasting black and ivory faces to resemble this garment.

Dominos are often played on a tabletop, but they can be used in other settings as well. For instance, some people like to play domino on the floor, and a lot of games can be played in a circle. In addition to the standard wood or plastic pieces, dominoes can be made from a wide variety of materials. Natural materials include bone, mother-of-pearl (MOP), and ivory; dark hardwoods such as ebony; or metals such as brass and pewter.

A key ingredient in a great domino setup is the physical phenomenon called gravity, which pulls a fallen domino toward the ground and sends it crashing into the next tile in its line. Hevesh, a domino artist who has created complex domino setups that take several nail-biting minutes to complete, says that understanding this force is what allows her to achieve such amazing results.

The only limit to a domino’s potential is the amount of energy you can apply. Hevesh says that if she applies just the right amount of energy, a domino will be propelled forward and fall in the desired manner. Then, the energy that was stored in that domino will be available to push on the next domino, and so on.

By admin
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