Wonder of the Day: Dominoes

When someone says domino, many people think of a game where players line up dominoes in long rows and then knock them over. But there are so many more ways to use dominoes! Today’s Wonder of the Day focuses on how the simple action of one domino can influence a chain reaction and set off a series of events.

Dominoes are small, rectangular blocks of rigid material such as wood or bone that are used as gaming objects. They are also called bones, cards, tiles, men, or spinners and can be made from any number of materials. Some people use them to make art and others play games with them.

Most domino sets come with 28 tiles, which is enough for two players to play most of the popular domino games. These games usually fall into two categories: blocking and scoring. Blocking games are those where the objective is to empty the opponent’s hand while blocking his or her moves. Scored games, on the other hand, are those where points are scored by laying tiles end to end with matching ends (e.g., one’s touching ones and two’s touching two’s).

When a domino falls, most of its potential energy converts into kinetic energy. The kinetic energy then travels to the next domino, giving it the push it needs to fall. The process continues until all of the dominoes have fallen.

Some of the more complex domino games are designed to challenge a player’s thinking and strategy. A popular example is 42, a game that involves four players paired into teams. Each player draws seven dominoes and plays them into tricks. Points are awarded based on the number of multiples of five in each domino. The first team to reach a total of 35 points wins.

Other games are designed to allow players to create a domino “artwork” that can be displayed. These can include straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, and even 3D structures like towers and pyramids.

In addition to being fun and challenging, these types of domino games help teach basic physics principles such as conservation of energy. For instance, a single domino has the potential to knock over hundreds or thousands of other dominoes, depending on how the game is played and how careful the builder is. The same principle is seen in the real world: when a person changes his or her behavior, it can affect the behaviors of others around them. For example, when Admiral William H. McRaven began making his bed every morning, his children took notice and started making theirs as well. The result was a change in family habits that then had a ripple effect on their communities and society at large. We call this the Domino Effect.