Dominoes – A Game of Skill

Domino is a game of skill that can be played on a table, on the floor or outdoors. Players place dominoes on a line, either straight or curved, and then flick the first one to set off a chain reaction of pieces that fall across the table. The resulting pattern can be anything from a simple grid that forms pictures, to 3-D structures like towers and pyramids.

The game was invented by a Portuguese missionary in the early 18th century and is now played in many parts of the world. In the US, it has been popularized by Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) and is often seen on television. The company has invested in technology to increase efficiency, including a new delivery system that uses cameras to track each order as it’s delivered. The new system, which can process orders faster than humans, also enables Domino’s to track delivery drivers’ routes to ensure the fastest route is taken.

Dominoes are small enough to be easily handled but detailed enough to demand respect for the craftsman’s work. They are usually twice as long as they are wide, which makes them easy to stack. The identity-bearing face of a domino is divided, by a line or ridge, visually into two squares that are marked with an arrangement of spots or “pips,” identical to those on a die, except that the upper square has no pips. The lower square has a number of pips equal to the value of the corresponding domino in the other player’s hand, which may be blank or may contain all six possible pips.

A domino’s open ends are referred to as points and can be scored in a variety of ways. The most common way is to place the first domino in a line with matching open ends (one’s touching ones, five’s touching four’s or all six possible pairs). Then each subsequent tile played at right angles to the line has its point total counted as it is added to the score.

Some domino sets are made of natural materials such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips. These sets, typically more expensive than polymer sets, have a more novel look and feel.

Lily Hevesh started collecting dominoes when she was 9 years old, and her grandparents gave her their classic 28-piece set. She loved setting them up in straight or curved lines, and watching the entire row fall at once. Hevesh has now grown into a professional domino artist who creates massive layouts for movies, TV shows and events such as the album launch of pop star Katy Perry.

Hevesh spends days planning out the layout of a complex design before beginning to build it. She tests each section before adding it to the larger installation, ensuring that every piece works properly. She then systematically adds the larger sections, starting with flat arrangements and working up to 3D structures. She films each step of the creation in slow motion to check for precise timing and positioning.