How to Plan a Domino Wall


Dominoes are small rectangular blocks that have two groups of spots on one side. They’re used for playing a variety of games. Unlike other board games, domino is all about the reaction of one tile to another. A single domino can knock over objects of up to a third its size, as shown in this video.

In addition to creating complex grids that form pictures, walls, or 3-D structures like towers and pyramids, Hevesh creates displays for movies, TV shows, events, and even the Katy Perry album launch. Her largest installations take several nail-biting minutes to fall, and each one takes a lot of planning to build. To help plan her projects, Hevesh uses fractions to determine how many dominoes she needs for each part of the layout. She also divvies up her layout into segments so that she can easily move around the project and make sure that no gaps exist between the tiles.

Hevesh starts each project by considering its theme or purpose. She brainstorms images or words that she wants to use, and then she plans out how she will arrange the dominoes. For example, if she’s making a domino wall, she might draw a sketch to plan out where each row will go. She might also decide whether the wall will be square or diagonal, and she may determine how thick each row will be. Once she’s finished planning out her arrangement, she starts building the actual pieces.

Most domino games involve a player playing a domino against an opponent, with each player taking turns placing tiles in such a way that they connect adjacently and touch evenly (or “bye” or “cross-ways”). The number of connecting ends on a domino is limited to two, and so the most common games are played with a double-twelve set (91 tiles) or a double-nine set (55) of dominoes.

If a player plays out of turn, the opposing player can call a “knock” to recall that domino, and play then passes to the next player. Some games require players to “chip out” when they reach their last domino, which can result in ties, and some games even allow players to play their final dominoes together in a chain for victory.

As a general rule, the first player to complete their chain wins. However, there are a few exceptions, including some of the oldest and most popular games: a balancing game that requires both players to balance their score and a counting game that rewards players whose combined total of spots is the lowest.