Domino is a small rectangular game piece with anywhere from 0 to 6 dots on each end. It is used to play a variety of domino games and can be stood up to create intricate patterns that look impressive when they are knocked down. The name comes from the fact that one domino can knock down hundreds and even thousands of others. This idea has inspired many physics experiments, such as the Domino Effect.
Dominos are usually twice as long as they are wide and have a line in the middle to divide them visually into two squares. Each of these squares is marked with an arrangement of spots or “pips” that resemble the dots on a die, but without any numbers. The number of pips on each end determines the domino’s value, which is generally referred to as its rank or weight. Thus a domino with six pips on each end is called a double-six and is the heaviest domino; a domino with no pips on either end is called a blank or zero and is the lightest domino.
Each domino has two matching ends and can be positioned in either direction, so that the domino on which it is being played sits adjacent to another tile with the same number of pips. This means that each domino has potential energy (the difference between its standing position and the force of gravity) which, when the corresponding side of the other tile is placed, is converted to kinetic energy and causes the domino to fall. When a double is played, the two matching sides must be adjacent and touching fully, or else the chain will not work.
The most common commercial domino sets contain 28 tiles and are often referred to as double-six or double-nine, although other larger sets exist. Some larger sets are extended by introducing ends with more pips, so that they can be played in a longer chain. Each enlarged set typically adds three more tiles to the maximum number of unique combinations and the most common extendible sets contain 55 tiles, which is called double-12.
While dominoes are most often used for playing games, they can also be arranged in 3-D structures such as archways and towers. Hevesh is a professional domino artist who builds large-scale domino installations for events and private customers. She carefully tests each section of an installation to ensure that it works properly before adding the rest of the pieces. She films her tests in slow motion, which helps her make precise corrections if a section doesn’t turn out as planned.
Whether you compose a novel off the cuff or carefully plot each chapter, using the domino effect in your story can make it more interesting and compelling to readers. Domino effects are essentially chains of reactions, and if you want your readers to care about your characters and what happens to them, you need to create a situation that will cause them to react in a way that will be memorable.