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The Basics of Dominoes

Dominoes are an excellent game for children and adults alike. They are easy to learn and can be played with many different strategies. They can also help children develop their hand-eye coordination and motor skills. In addition to their educational value, dominoes are also a fun way to spend time with friends or family. There are many different games that can be played with dominoes and the rules of each vary slightly from place to place.

The basic domino rule is that any tile may be placed on an open end of a previously-played tile. However, there are many exceptions to this rule and specific instructions for each game should be followed. For example, some games require that the first player set (or “the down”) a domino before the next players can add their tiles. The open ends of these previously-played tiles are referred to as the line of play.

When a domino is added to the line of play, it may be referred to as a double or a spinner. A spinner has the capability of being played on all four sides while a double can be played only on two of its edges. Depending on the rules of a particular game, a double or a spinner may be required to be played first as the lead.

In most games, the total number of pips on a domino that are left in the losing players’ hands at the end of a hand or a game is used to determine the winner. This scoring method is often combined with passing and byeing as described below.

Traditionally, domino sets have been made of bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl or MOP), ivory, or dark hardwood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips (inlaid or painted). More recently, domino sets have been made from many other materials and even glass and crystal. These sets have a more unique look and feel and tend to be slightly more expensive than traditional MOP, ivory or wood sets.

Although the most common domino sets contain only double-nine dominoes, larger sets are available. These “extended” sets increase the maximum number of pips on each end by adding more tiles to the standard set. This allows more dominoes to fit on each end of a single tile and still allow for matching all eight ends together.

Hevesh began playing dominoes with her grandparents when she was nine and has never stopped. She enjoys the challenge of creating intricate domino setups, especially those that involve a curved or circular arrangement. She says that gravity is the most important factor in her projects: “The beauty comes from letting the dominoes fall on their own, tumbling according to the laws of physics.” Her largest installations take several nail-biting minutes for all the dominoes to tumble. For her, that is the perfect way to relax. Her favorite part of the process is “flicking” the first domino and watching it cascade down in a beautiful display.

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