Dominoes, or dominoes, are small rectangular blocks of wood or plastic. Each domino has an arrangement of spots, or “pips,” similar to those on dice. The pips are divided into suits, with each suit consisting of tiles that feature the same number of pips. The most common type of domino set is a double six, with 28 tiles. However, larger sets of dominoes, including the double nine and the double twelve, are available. In addition to playing games with dominoes, people stack them on their sides and use them as a form of art, creating elaborate designs. Dominos are also used as toys, and some people enjoy building domino towers with them.

The word domino comes from the Latin dominium, meaning “heavy.” The first use of the term to refer to a game with these pieces was in 1750. It had an earlier sense, denoting a long hooded cloak worn with a mask at a carnival or masquerade. The earliest surviving example of this style of costume, which was made with ebony blacks and ivory faces, dates from about 1680.

Each player draws the number of dominoes permitted to take according to the rules of the game being played and places them on the table in front of him or her. The first player then plays a tile by placing it against the free end of an already-played domino. Each subsequent player adds a tile to the line of play in accordance with the rules of the game being played. The resulting configuration is called the layout, string, or line of play.

When a domino is placed on top of another, it causes that domino to tip over. This causes the next one to tip over, and so on until all the dominoes in a row have fallen. This occurrence led to the popular phrase, “the domino effect,” which describes any situation in which one action leads to much greater-and sometimes catastrophic-consequences.

Dominoes are used in a variety of games, including drawing, matching, and counting. The most popular games of this type involve setting up a line of dominoes in a straight or curved configuration and then knocking them down. Lily Hevesh, a domino artist who has more than 2 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, started collecting dominoes when she was 9. She enjoyed setting them up in long lines and flicking them over to see the whole sequence fall in unison. She is now a professional domino artist, making spectacular setups for movies, TV shows, and events. She also posts videos of her creations on her channel. Using a variety of tools and machines—including a drill press, radial arm saw, scroll saw, belt sander, and welder—Hevesh can create dominoes in any size or shape required for her projects. She has even designed dominoes for pop musicians. In addition to her hobby, she consults with companies on how best to train their employees. She has found that keeping the lines of communication open between the company and its workers is key to success.