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# Learning the Basics of Domino

Dominos are small rectangular blocks marked with two groups of spots, or pips, on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. They are used for playing various games. The order of play and the rules for each game vary widely. As a result, it can be confusing for new players to navigate the many variations. A good way to learn the basics of domino is to consider a simple game such as Block, which requires only a double-six set and can be played by two players.

In Block, each player extends the line of play by adding a domino that matches its open end, either lengthwise or crosswise. The first player to do so wins. Players then score points according to the combined total of pips on their remaining tiles. Depending on the rules, the winner may be the partner with the lowest total or, in partnership games, the player who can make his or her last move.

A player who makes the initial play in a game is referred to as the setter, the downer or the lead. Often, the first play is made by a player with a double, but other times it is a single. Some rules specify that the first play must be a double, while others require a player to draw a particular number of tiles from the stock before making a play.

When a domino is set down, it triggers a series of events that continue to play out until the last tile falls. This sequence is called the chain reaction. It is very similar to the firing of a nerve impulse in your body: the pulse travels at a constant speed without losing energy, and it can only be stopped by an abrupt interruption (such as a knock).

Like domino chains, novels need logically connected scenes that advance the hero’s journey toward his or her goal. In some cases, the scenes must be short enough to feel fast-paced and exciting. In other cases, the scenes must be long enough to provide readers with sufficient details of the hero’s discovery or achievement.

Hevesh uses math to plan her domino installations. She divides fractions to determine how many tiles she needs and how they will be arranged on the board, for example, “If I want to build a domino installation 24 inches long, what size dominoes do I need?” she says. She also carries out test runs to see how well the entire layout will work before beginning the actual construction. She films each section of the layout in slow motion so she can quickly spot and correct mistakes before they cause an accidental domino topple.