Dominoes are a type of tile game in which tiles (also called bones, pieces, men, or cards) are placed edge to edge and played with one another. They have a line or ridge in the middle to divide them visually into two squares, called ends, with each side marked with an arrangement of pips. They are usually twice as long as they are wide, and the value of each end is a number from six pips down to none or blank.

Playing dominoes is an activity that combines strategy, skill, and luck. It is also a form of entertainment for adults and children, with several different games to choose from.

Traditionally, dominoes have been used for playing positional games in which each player in turn places a tile edge to edge against another so that the adjacent faces match or form some specified total. These are referred to as a “suit” of the game, and each player may play from a certain suit until all the tiles in the set have been used up.

Some modern games use different sets of dominoes to indicate the number of the corresponding suit, and some variants add additional rules, such as playing with a single tile to represent the number seven or the number two. In addition, some dominoes are designed to represent a single card or die.

The game of dominoes is believed to have originated in the mid-18th century in Italy and France, though it was first introduced into England by French prisoners of war at the end of the 18th century. It is now common in most countries and is a popular game for family gatherings, restaurants, and bars.

Players begin the game by drawing seven dominoes for their hands and placing them on the table. Then, the player who drew the highest double or the highest domino plays first. The rest of the players draw seven more dominoes from their hand and place them on the table.

When a domino is placed on the table, it must be placed so that the two matching sides touch completely. If one of the two ends is a double, then that tile must be placed cross-ways across the other end of the chain, straddling the middle of that side. Then, additional tiles can be placed on the other end of the chain as long as they have not previously been connected to the double.

Hevesh says that a key physical factor in creating mind-blowing domino setups is gravity. When a domino is knocked over, it pulls against the ground, causing it to slide toward the next domino on the chain and send it crashing into the last domino.

In this way, dominoes are a fascinating and powerful example of how energy converts into motion. In fact, a professor of physics at the University of British Columbia named Lorne Whitehead published an article in 1983 about how a domino can generate enough energy to topple much larger dominoes–a phenomenon known as a “domino chain reaction.”

Hevesh explains that her mind-blowing installations take a lot of work to create, and she often works on them with teams, involving hundreds of thousands of dominoes. In the process, she follows a version of the engineering-design process that involves brainstorming ideas and testing them to make sure they work properly before she puts them up in public spaces. She then films her tests in slow motion so she can make fine adjustments if any of the pieces don’t fall correctly.