The Domino Effect


Dominoes are small wooden or plastic blocks with a number of dots resembling those on dice. They are used to play games in which players arrange the dominoes edge-to-edge to form lines or other shapes that score points when they fall. Some people use dominoes to create art pieces by laying them out in complex patterns on flat surfaces or in 3-D structures such as towers and pyramids.

Many different types of dominoes have been used for centuries in various parts of the world to play a variety of domino games. Originally, each domino represented one of the 21 results from throwing two six-sided dice. The pips on each end of the domino are arranged so that the higher number is shown on the top and the lower number is on the bottom. For example, a domino with a 2 on one end and 5 on the other would be called a “double-six.” In recent times, many manufacturers have begun to produce different kinds of dominoes, including plastic ones, to make it easier for children to play dominoes games.

Some people enjoy standing dominoes on their ends in long lines. When the first domino is tipped over, it causes the next domino in line to tip, and so on, until all of the dominoes have fallen. This phenomenon has given rise to the popular expression “the domino effect,” meaning that a small event can cause similar events with much greater (and sometimes catastrophic) consequences. Many elaborate arrangements of dominoes have been made, and some can take minutes or even hours to fall. For very large or intricate arrangements, special blocks are sometimes employed at regular distances to prevent a premature toppling from undoing more than a section of the arrangement.

When it comes to writing fiction, plotting a story often involves a process of adding and subtracting scenes until the resulting composition feels just right. Just like a well-placed domino, each scene should move the hero closer to or farther from his goal, while also making the reader feel satisfied that he’s seen enough of the action and character development to want to know what happens next.

Hevesh, a young woman who has gained fame for her mind-blowing domino creations on YouTube and other video platforms, has developed her own version of the engineering-design process to help her plan out her installations. She starts by considering a theme or purpose, and then brainstorms images that go along with it. Then she tests out each section of the design by putting it together on a flat surface and filming the test in slow motion. If a section of the design isn’t working properly, she changes it until it does. Her most elaborate arrangements have taken several nail-biting minutes to fall.