Like the cards in a deck of playing cards, dominoes are small rectangular blocks of wood or plastic, each with a face divided into two squares. One side of the domino face is marked with an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice, and the other is blank or identically patterned. The identifying marks on each domino are known as its pip count. A domino with a single-pip count on one end and a double-pip count on the other is considered to be a “double.”
Dominoes are most commonly used for positional games, where each player in turn places a domino edge to edge against another, adding its pip count to the total of a previous tile already on the table. This total is then used as the basis for a game’s rules.
Lily Hevesh’s grandparents had a set of classic dominoes that she played with when she was 9. She loved setting them up in straight or curved lines and flicking them to watch the entire sequence fall, domino after domino. Now at age 20, Hevesh is a professional domino artist, creating spectacular sets for movies, TV shows, and events—and she also runs a YouTube channel with more than 2 million subscribers who admire her work.
She takes a lot of pride in her work, and she spends a lot of time planning each project in advance. She often makes multiple test versions of a section of a domino setup to ensure it works before she starts putting everything together. She then films each of these tests in slow motion, allowing her to make precise corrections if necessary.
As a professional, Hevesh also works to keep her business grounded in the company’s core values, including championing its customers. She listens to customer feedback and takes note of any complaints. This allows her to quickly implement changes and improve the customer experience.
One of the biggest challenges of working as a domino artist is making sure the final layout looks its best, especially when the work is on a large scale. To ensure the dominoes don’t get skewed as they are being placed, Hevesh uses a measuring tool to measure each piece before placing it on the table. She also creates a grid of markings on the table to help guide her.
Many different kinds of domino games are played, and the number of possible combinations of ends is limited only by the number of tiles in a given set. A typical domino set has 28 tiles, but there are “extended” sets with more and less than this number of tiles. In addition, some tiles are “doublets”—those with a matching pattern on both sides. In general, the longer side of a double is used for dominoes that are joined to only one other domino, but some rules allow additional tiles to be added on each of the four “open” ends of the double. This allows for a greater variety of games to be played.