The Art of Domino

Domino is a game of skill and strategy. Players place dominoes on a table in long lines and, when one of them is tipped over, the other dominoes topple over in a chain reaction that continues until all of the tiles are down. There are many different games that can be played using domino, and some of them can be very complicated with lots of rules to remember.

The most basic domino set consists of 28 tiles. These are shuffled and form the “stock,” or boneyard, from which each player draws seven tiles for his hand. After a player draws his tiles, he places them on the edge of the table in front of him so that all of the players can see them. When a player draws more tiles for his hand than he is entitled to, the players to his right take the extra tiles from his hands without looking at them, and return them to the stock. The remaining dominoes are then reshuffled, and the game begins again.

Each domino has an identifying mark, called a pip, on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. The pips indicate the number of spots, or symbols, on each end of the tile. The pip count is used to determine the value of each domino, as well as in some of the scoring and advancing rules in certain games.

Hevesh builds test versions of each section of her installation, then films them in slow motion to check that they work as intended. She then assembles the largest 3-D sections first, followed by flat arrangements and finally lines of dominoes that connect all of the sections together. Her installations can be as simple or as complex as she wants, but she always tries to create something that is visually interesting and memorable.

In addition to block and scoring games, dominoes can be arranged in lines to make patterns or as 3D structures like towers and pyramids. These are called domino art and can be quite beautiful. The most challenging domino art to build is a curved line, because each tile must be placed perfectly to avoid any gaps or bumps in the pattern.

Sometimes the last domino in a line is blocked, which prevents other dominoes from being able to fall. This is called a blocked game, and it may be broken by drawing new dominoes from the stock (see Draw and Passing, below). Some of the more advanced games have additional rules for dealing with blocks. For example, the heaviest double must begin play in some games. In others, the highest single begins play. Still other games allow all players to buy the extra dominoes left in the stock, depending on the rules of the game being played. Buying the extra dominoes allows players to increase their score, and also helps break ties.

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