What Is Domino?


Domino is a generic term that refers to any of the games played using a set of dominoes. These tiles, also known as bones, cards, men, or pieces, are rectangular and feature a line down the middle to visually divide them into two squares, called ends. Each end features a number ranging from zero (or blank) to six in the most popular domino set, the double-six. Matching dominoes are placed edge to edge in order to form a chain that, when completed, results in the domino falling. The first player to complete their set wins the game.

Dominoes are often used in positional games. A player takes turns laying one tile on top of another, until each end has a number that matches the number on the opposing player’s last tile. If the tile has an odd number of pips, it can only be matched with a tile that has an even number. A domino that has a blank side can be matched with any tile; however, the unused pips on a tile are usually counted as 0 points in a game.

Creating the elaborate domino arrangements that Hevesh works with isn’t as easy as it looks. She meticulously plans out each section of her designs and tests them out before putting it all together. Her biggest installations can take several nail-biting minutes to fall. Hevesh explains that the main thing to remember is that gravity is key. “When a domino is standing upright, it’s storing potential energy up against the pull of gravity,” she says. But once it falls, that potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, which pushes domino after domino until they all tumble down.

While it’s not clear how the word dominoes came to be, we do know that the game first appeared in Europe around the early 18th century. It spread rapidly from Italy to Austria, southern Germany and France, and was brought to England by French prisoners around the same time. The name, however, did not appear until after 1750. In fact, the word “domino” originally referred to a long, hooded cloak worn together with a mask during carnival season or at masquerades, and is thought to have been linked to the piece’s black and ivory faces.

In business, good dominoes are tasks that contribute to a bigger goal and have a positive impact on the future. For example, outlining a financial plan and executing that plan could be considered good dominoes, because each part of the process helps make the other parts easier to do.

The word domino is also associated with the pizza restaurant chain of the same name, whose business model is based on speed and convenience. Domino’s founder, Tom Monaghan, believed that if you delivered pizza quickly and efficiently, people would come back. The company’s growth skyrocketed in the late 1960s and 1970s, thanks to its strategy of opening stores near college campuses. Today, Domino’s has over 200 locations worldwide.