The Domino Effect

Domino is a family of game pieces that are used to create chains of matching numbers on either end. They are normally placed in a line on the table, but there are many variations in how they are played. In the most basic form, a single domino is played to an adjacent domino that has a number on both ends and thus begins the chain. The domino that is played must touch the next domino (either a double or a blank) in such a way as to make sure the two matching sides are touching fully. A domino with two identical numbered ends is called a double blank, while one with different numbers on both ends is a double six. There are 28 dominoes in a traditional set of seven doubles and 21 singles.

The earliest mentions of domino appear in the mid-18th century, although they may have existed in Europe earlier. The word domino itself is thought to be derived from the Latin dominus, meaning master or lord. The domino, itself, looks like a rounded, flat disc with an arrangement of dots on both sides. The dominoes we play with today are usually made of a dark material such as ebony or an opaque hardwood with contrasting black or white dots on one side. The earliest sets were made of ivory, bone, or a mixture of both.

There are countless games that can be played with dominoes, and the rules of most of them are fairly similar. The basic concept is that you play a domino to an adjacent domino that has a matching number on both ends, and the rest of the tiles in your set must be lined up. Once a domino is laid, the other players then take turns placing the rest of their tiles. When a player cannot place a domino, they may choose to pass. Each time a domino is placed, the winner of the hand adds to the score based on the number of multiples of five in their opponent’s hands.

While it is easy to see the practicality of the Domino Effect, it can be difficult to understand how it actually works. Essentially, the effect capitalizes on one of the key principles of human behavior outlined in the book Influence by Robert Cialdini. The basic idea is that people are more likely to honor commitments and follow through on their promises if those commitments align with their self-image.

Hevesh, a professional domino artist, uses this principle to create massive displays of dominoes that often take several nail-biting minutes to fall into place. She has worked on projects that have involved as many as 300,000 dominoes and has a YouTube channel where she shares her elaborate creations. Her largest domino installations are shaped into circles and can have more than a thousand dominoes. This type of domino requires a great deal of patience to complete, but the results are breathtaking. Hevesh has also created stunning domino displays for movies, TV shows, and events including an album launch for pop star Katy Perry.