The Domino Effect

Domino is a game played by placing tiles on end in a long line and then knocking them over one by one. The first domino in the line is called a starter. When the starter is tipped over, it causes the next domino to tip over, and so on, until all the pieces have fallen. Stacking multiple dominoes in this way allows for very complicated patterns to be created. It also illustrates the power of the Domino Effect, which is the idea that one small change can lead to many other changes. This concept is often used in the context of personal behavior, where changing just one thing can have a positive impact on other behaviors. It can be applied to relationships, finances, and even health habits. For example, one study found that when people decreased their sedentary time, they also reduced their fat intake. The key is to pick the right starting domino.

Lily Hevesh started playing with dominoes when she was 9 years old. Her grandparents had a classic 28-pack, and she loved watching the dominoes fall—one by one. She soon began creating her own setups and posting videos of them online. Today, Hevesh is a professional domino artist who creates amazing designs for movie sets and events. Her YouTube channel, Hevesh5, has more than 2 million subscribers.

Hevesh uses a version of the engineering-design process when creating her installations. She begins by considering the theme or purpose of her project, then brainstorms images or words that could represent those ideas. She then tests each section of her layout to make sure it works. If the test is successful, she then builds the rest of her design. Hevesh has worked on projects involving over 300,000 dominoes and helped set the Guinness World Record for the most dominoes in a circular arrangement—76,017. Her largest installations can take several nail-biting minutes to fall, but once they do, the results are breathtaking.

There are many different games that can be played with dominoes, but most involve laying dominoes in lines or angular patterns. Each domino has a side that bears an identifying mark—usually a number or a pattern—and a blank or identically patterned opposite side. Some games also use a double domino, which has two open sides and can be placed straddling the end of another tile. A player may place new dominoes on either or both of these open sides.

When a domino is placed correctly, it becomes connected to the other dominoes around it, which become part of a chain that grows in length until it reaches its target length. At that point, the winner of the game is declared. Some games award a set number of points to the winner, while others simply award the person who is the first to reach the target length.