How Dominoes Cause a Chain Reaction

Dominoes are a classic game for children. The simple pleasure of lining them up in straight or curved lines, then flicking one to start the chain reaction is enough to entertain kids for hours. For adults, it’s a relaxing pastime and a way to test your problem-solving skills. But domino also provides a lesson about how one small trigger can cause a cascade of events that is bigger than any single piece. That principle is often applied to life, too, and it’s a useful tool for novelists looking for ways to create believable action.

As physicist Stephen Morris explains, a domino stands upright largely because of gravity. But when you flick that first domino, it gets some potential energy (the amount of energy it has based on its position). As the domino falls, much of that energy is converted to kinetic energy (the energy of motion), which pushes on the next domino. That domino, in turn, gives off more kinetic energy and so on, until the last domino topples and unleashes the chain reaction.

The most common domino sets feature 28 tiles, but there are larger sets with more and less than 28 pieces. Each domino has a unique identity that is based on the arrangement of dots on both sides of the piece. A domino is considered to have a suit of six, seven or eight if it features all pips, three if it has two matching sides and zero if it has neither.

When a player places a domino, it must touch the end of the line of already-played tiles. Unless the domino is a double, it must be played perpendicular to the line of play and directly across from a double that is touching at its middle. This allows the chain of dominos to build a “cross” shape as it grows.

After a domino is played, other players may take turns to place more dominos in the same fashion. If a player cannot play a domino, they pass their turn to the player on their left. The first player to place all of their dominoes wins.

Domino games include the traditional blocking and scoring games, as well as layout games that allow for a greater number of possible moves. Layout games usually involve a maximum of four players. Larger numbers of players can be accommodated by “extended” sets, which introduce additional ends with more pips.

As Domino’s CEO, Steve Brandon has emphasized the importance of listening to employees in order to make changes that improve the company. He has put in place a flexible dress code, new leadership training programs and a college recruiting system. But perhaps the most important change he has made is to make it clear that Domino’s will be a pizza company that values and champions its customers. That message has spread throughout the organization and into the wider community.