Domino is the game of scoring points by laying matching pairs of tiles end to end so that the ends match (one’s touch one’s or two’s touch each other). The exposed sides of each tile have an arrangement of dots, like those on a die, called pips. Each domino belongs to a suit (zero, threes, fives, etc.). The number of pips on the exposed sides determines the value of the domino in the game. The suit is determined by the first tile placed on the line; each subsequent domino added to a line must be in the same suit.

Hevesh, a 20-year-old domino artist from Brooklyn who has more than 2 million YouTube subscribers, creates elaborate, spectacular domino setups that include curved lines and grids that form pictures. She’s even helped set the Guinness Record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement. Hevesh works on projects involving hundreds and thousands of pieces. Some of her largest installations take several nail-biting minutes to fall.

She tests each section of her setups before putting them all together. She also films each section in slow motion to check that the dominoes connect logically and that they will fall correctly.

Before domino games arrived in Britain in the late 18th Century, there was a similar game played by Inuits (Inuit) made from bones. This was probably an imitation of European domino games and not an original North American invention.

The word domino probably originated in the 17th Century as a French variation of dominus, a Latin term meaning master or sovereign. It was later applied to a type of monastic hood and then to a hooded mask worn at a carnival or masquerade ball. The hooded aspect of the word may have been linked to the use of black and white domino pieces to resemble a priest’s hood.

While there are many different games that can be played with dominoes, the most popular are ‘layout’ or blocking games. These involve placing dominoes to block paths or to score points. Larger sets of dominoes are available for those who wish to play long domino chains. A double six set has 28 dominoes, while a double nine set has 55. Dominoes are normally twice as long as they are wide. This makes them easy to re-stack after use. Dominoes are also sold in small packages for individual use. Dominoes are also used for art and architecture, notably the Taj Mahal in India and the Great Wall of China. Some modern dominoes are computer-controlled and can be set up to display patterns, words or pictures. This is sometimes used as a way to help people with dementia, autism and other cognitive impairments to stimulate their brains. Dominoes can also be used for teaching and therapy in schools, hospitals and prisons. They are also an excellent party favor.

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