How to Design a Domino Set

Dominoes have long been a popular game for both children and adults. They are easy to learn and fun to play. The game can be played with two or more players and can provide hours of entertainment. When a player places a domino, it must be matched with another domino that has the same number of dots on both sides. This allows the chain to grow in a snake-like pattern, but the laying of the tiles must be carefully considered. If a domino is left unmatched, it will become a “wild” tile, which can be used by any other player to create a new line.

One of the most interesting aspects of domino is that it demonstrates simple principles of physics. For example, when a domino falls over, it is because some of the potential energy stored in that domino was converted to kinetic energy, which was then transferred to the next domino as it slid across the floor or table. That kinetic energy is what causes it to knock over, and so on, until all the dominoes have fallen.

This is why a chain of dominoes can be so powerful, as demonstrated in a 1983 study by University of British Columbia physicist Lorne Whitehead. He set up 13 dominos on a board and began with the first, which was 5 millimeters tall and only 1 millimeter thick, smaller than a Tic Tac. This was a small domino, but it was still enough to knock down the entire row of them. The 13 dominoes totaled more than three feet tall and weighed 100 pounds.

While many people are content with a simple set of dominoes that can be set up in a straight or curved line and then knocked over, others prefer to design more elaborate setups, including 3D structures like towers and pyramids. There are even professional domino artists who do this for a living, such as Lily Hevesh, whose YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers. When she designs a domino art project, Hevesh follows a version of the engineering-design process that involves considering a theme or purpose and brainstorming images and words.

In addition to a variety of shapes and sizes, some sets have different types of dominoes. Some are made from natural materials such as bone or ivory, dark hardwoods such as ebony, and stones like marble and granite; others are made of plastics, ceramic clay, metals, or glass. In contrast to the traditional molded polymer dominoes, these natural and exotic dominoes have a much more unique appearance that can be more appealing to some players.

The rules of the game depend on the type of dominoes being used, but most involve positioning one domino edge to edge against another, with adjacent faces either identical or forming a specified total. When this occurs, a domino must be completely covered by the second, or “knocked out,” to cause it to fall. Other games allow players to score points by laying the dominoes end to end, with all matching ends touching: one’s touch one’s, two’s touch two’s, etc.