The Basics of Domino


Domino is a game that is played by two or more players on a table. The game starts when one player places a domino, which has the number 1 or 0 printed on it, down in front of him on the table. Other players then add more dominoes to the line of play by matching their tiles with one of the open ends of the first domino that has been placed down. This configuration of the dominoes is called the layout, string or line of play. When all the tiles are in place, they form a chain of numbers that runs from one end of the table to the other. If a domino has the same number on both sides of it, this is called a spinner and can be played at either end of the line of play.

The player who placed the first domino is known as the lead and must place his tile before any other players can play. After the players draw their hands, if they are tied, the game is broken by drawing new dominoes from the stock and reshuffled before each player draws his hand again. The player who draws the highest double or the highest single makes the first play. Some rules state that if no player has the highest double, the winner of the previous game begins play.

In many domino games, each player adds a tile to the existing line of play in the manner specified by the game’s rules. In some games, all the dominoes that match with an open end of an already-played domino must be added to that end. In other cases, the next domino added must have a different number on each side of it. When this occurs, it is said that a player has “stitched up” the ends of the dominoes.

Physicist Stephen Morris explains that when a domino is stood upright, it has potential energy (energy based on its position). When the domino falls, much of this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy (energy of motion).

A player may only add a tile to a line of play that matches the number on one or both of its sides. If a player lays down a tile that does not match the current line of play, he must “knock” the table with his hand and play another domino to continue the chain.

Lily Hevesh began playing with dominoes at age 9 when her grandparents gave her a classic 28-piece set. She soon started creating her own spectacular setups and posting videos of them on YouTube. Now, she has more than 2 million subscribers and creates domino scenes for movies, TV shows and events—including a recent album launch by pop star Katy Perry. Hevesh’s work is so popular that it has inspired a bestselling book. Hevesh credits her success to her passion and persistence. She works seven days a week and spends up to five hours each day creating her domino sets.