Playing With Dominoes

Dominoes are small flat rectangular blocks that can be stacked on end in long lines. If the first domino is tipped ever so slightly, it causes all the other dominoes to fall over in a beautiful cascade of rhythmic motion. This is how the term “domino effect” got its name. The idea is that a single tiny action can lead to much larger–and sometimes even catastrophic–consequences.

For example, the Detroit Free Press recently reported on a domino effect that saw several credit unions merge or be taken over by a larger bank because of one bad loan. Another kind of domino effect occurs in science and technology. A new discovery or technology can have far-reaching effects that change how people think about the world around them.

Among the many ways to play with dominoes, the most popular is to use them to create a line of connected “tracks” for other pieces to roll down in a straight or curved pattern. Depending on how elaborate the track design is, the finished domino art can be quite stunning.

One expert in domino creation is Hevesh, a professional artist who creates mind-blowing designs that require thousands of individual dominoes. She follows a version of the engineering-design process when creating her designs, starting with a theme or purpose that she wants to express. She then brainstorms images or words that she might want to incorporate into the final design. She finally creates a prototype using cardboard and then uses a 3-D printer to produce the final product.

Hevesh also creates more intricate and creative designs that don’t involve tracks, such as 3D structures or a grid that forms a picture when the dominoes are dropped. She’s won multiple awards for her domino artwork, including the Best in Show award at the 2017 International Paper Sculpture Competition.

Another way to use dominoes is to play a game of domino, where players try to match up the ends of the pieces so that they can be laid down in lines or angular patterns. There are a number of different games that can be played, and some are very complex with lots of rules.

When the first Domino’s location opened in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1967, it was part of an expansion effort that saw the company quickly grow to over 200 locations by 1978. A key to their success was focusing on placing pizzerias in the right places – namely, near college campuses. This allowed them to cater to a demographic that was looking for quick and convenient pizza options. This strategy is still at the core of Domino’s growth today.