Domino, also called dominoes, are small rectangular blocks that can be used to play a variety of games. They may be set up in straight or curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall over, stacked walls, or 3D structures like pyramids. Each domino has a line down its middle that separates it into two square ends, each of which may have a number of dots—called pips—on them. The domino game is popular among children and adults for its ability to test patience and skill. It has been around for centuries and is a cousin to cards, dice, and playing cards.

The pips on a domino are usually raised or painted in white, black, red, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and a combination of these colors, but some sets are made of other materials such as stone (e.g., marble or granite); other woods (e.g., ash, oak, or redwood); ivory; or a dark hardwood such as ebony. Most sets have one domino per possible combination of spots, from 1 to 6, and each domino has a matched pair of adjacent sides with the same number of pips.

A player can win by laying all of his dominoes end to end before his opponents (i.e., the exposed pips must match: a one’s touching a two’s, or a three’s touching a four’s). Other play formats include blocking games, scoring games such as bergen and muggins, and domino puzzles, such as chess, Mexican train, and matador.

Lily Hevesh started playing with her grandparents’ classic 28-pack of dominoes when she was 9. She loved the feeling of setting them up in straight or curved lines, flicking the first piece, and watching the entire row fall. Now, the 20-year-old is a professional domino artist, creating spectacular setups for TV shows, movies, and even the album launch for pop star Katy Perry.

As Hevesh arranges her pieces, she thinks about their movement—how they will fall, what the next move will be, and what it will look like when it is finished. She also considers the energy stored in each domino, which she describes as a “domino’s inertia.” Then she plans out her design, calculating how many dominoes are needed and what kind of track they will need to form a picture or structure.

Dominoes have the potential to unleash a domino effect in our lives as well. For example, when Jennifer Dukes Lee began making her bed every day, she found that it not only helped her keep her house tidy but also reinforced a new self-image as someone who maintains a clean home. This type of domino effect is important because it can change the way people view themselves and build identity-based habits.

Similarly, when Schwab implemented his strategy of prioritizing tasks, he found that once he completed his most important work each day he would then have more energy to devote to other important tasks. These changes could lead to bigger and better things for Schwab’s company, such as adding new products and opening up more stores.

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