Dominoes are a type of tile game that can be used to play many different games. They are normally twice as long as they are wide, and each end has a number, from six down to blanks or zero, which indicate their value. Each domino also features a line in the middle to separate it visually into two square ends. The value of the domino is determined by its position in a line of tiles, known as a suit. The value of a domino can be further specified by its rank within the suit, which is determined by the number of pips on either side of the line in the middle.
There are a few different types of domino games that can be played, and the most popular are layout games and blocking games. In a layout game, players take turns placing dominoes on the table and adding more to the chain as they go. The more dominoes are added to the chain, the longer it grows, and each new tile adds to its own rank in the suit. There are also a variety of ways to score a game, including point-based scoring systems and a traditional tournament format.
Lily Hevesh has loved dominoes since she was a child. Her grandparents had a classic 28-tile set, and she enjoyed setting them up in straight or curved lines and flicking the first one to begin a chain reaction. In fact, Hevesh became so good at it that she now makes a living as a professional domino artist, creating elaborate layouts for movies, TV shows, and events, including the album launch for pop star Katy Perry.
Hevesh tests each section of her setups before putting them all together, and she films the test runs in slow motion to make sure everything works properly. She also goes through a thorough checklist before starting the actual installation, which can take several days to complete. She starts with the biggest 3-D sections and works her way down to the smaller flat arrangements.
According to Stephen Morris, a physicist at the University of Toronto, when a domino is standing upright it has potential energy, which is its stored energy based on its position in relation to gravity. When the domino falls, much of this energy is converted to kinetic energy as it moves through the chain.
Despite their seemingly simple design, dominoes have a great deal of complexity and the history of the game is rich with cultural and historical context. In addition to being a common leisure activity, dominoes have been used in war, transportation, education, and even to control fires. During the American Civil War, dominoes were used to mark the boundaries of a Union fortress, and they were also used by the military as a training exercise for soldiers. As time went by, dominoes became more and more popular, and their significance in society continues to grow.