The Art of Domino

Domino is a table game in which players place domino pieces edge to edge. They can create a straight line, snakes of dominoes or square arrangements that form patterns or pictures when they fall. Each domino has an identifying mark on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. The identifying marks are called pips. These pips are arranged in groups of six on the domino that is a single domino, or in rows on the domino that is a double.

The basic rule of a domino game is that the first player plays a tile to set the game in motion. Other rules and variations exist for determining how many dominoes each player draws for his hand, and for the order in which the hands are drawn. The basic game requires a set of 28 dominoes that are shuffled and formed into the stock, or boneyard, from which players draw tiles for their hands. The remaining tiles form the dominoes that other players may choose to use for their hands. This basic set is sometimes referred to as a double-six set.

When Hevesh makes a domino art piece, she begins by making test versions of each section. Then she films them in slow motion so she can see precisely how each part works and make adjustments before assembling the final track or structure. Hevesh says that this process is necessary to ensure that the dominoes work as intended.

If a domino is played in the wrong spot, or if it falls off the track, the person who plays that domino is responsible for repairing the error. If a domino is not played for any reason, including being covered by another domino that must be removed, the track is blocked and the game ends.

The most common type of domino set is made of wood or a polymer material with colored pips that are inlaid on the tiles. In the past, sets were also made of different natural materials, such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory or a dark hardwood such as ebony. Other materials are used today, as well.

In most domino games, a domino is scored by counting the total number of pips on the losers’ tiles at the end of a hand or a game. To be counted, the pips must be touching and they cannot be split by an open or closed double (such as a four-pip or a seven-pip).

There are also rules for scoring that allow players to earn bonus points when they play their tiles in certain ways. For example, a player can score by playing a single tile onto a double of the same color, or by playing an open domino on top of a domino with a matching value. If a player scores this way, the player receives the points earned by the winning players. In addition, a player can earn extra points by adding the value of the highest double on the winning hand to his own score.