Day: May 21, 2024

Domino, the game of falling dominoes, is a popular pastime for many people. It is played by two or more players and requires a set of dominoes, called tiles. Most commonly used are the double-6, double-9, double-12, and double-15 sets. A domino can be made out of several different materials, including bone (e.g., “silver lip” ocean pearl oyster shell), ivory, ebony, and marble. Polymer dominoes are also available and can be inexpensive. More expensive dominoes may be made of wood, such as birch or walnut, with contrasting black or white pips; stone (e.g., soapstone, granite, or marbleized acrylic); other precious metals; ceramic clay; and other unusual materials. A typical set of dominoes has 28 tiles, the number needed for the most basic games. These are shuffled and form a stock or boneyard, from which each player draws seven tiles. The player who plays the first tile must then add to the remaining dominoes by playing a domino of equal value that has a matching end and touching an adjacent domino on one or more sides. The chain of matching dominoes, called a domino chain, thus begins to grow. Each domino has a unique identifying mark on one side, usually an arrangement of spots, but sometimes a line or a ridge, and is blank on the other side. This distinct mark, or pip, differentiates it from other dominoes and enables it to be placed on top of the correct tile when a player makes a move. When the dominoes have been added to in the correct sequence, they are arranged on the table and the chain is completed. When the dominoes are arranged in a circle, the chains can form a circular pattern that is also known as a “spike.” While the most common form of domino play occurs in pairs, the game can be played with larger groups. Most of the newer domino games are designed for use with these larger sets, although the rules can be modified to allow for the use of smaller or larger sets. In the most skilled games, players try to be the first to reach a specific number of points often 61. This is done by adding up the total number of pips on each open end of the dominoes. Each time a domino is added to the chain, its value is increased by one point if it has an open end that is divisible by either five or three. Hevesh, the domino artist who has created mind-blowing setups involving thousands of dominoes, follows a version of the engineering-design process to create her installations. The physics behind the massive dominoes that she builds is simple: As each domino falls, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy, which provides the push needed to knock over the next domino in line. When that domino falls, it creates a chain reaction that continues until the last domino has fallen. Then the players are ready to begin again.

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