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Domino Toppling Basics

If you're new to domino toppling then here are some useful tips and advice on the basics of the pursuit.

You need a lot of dominoes and a lot of patience for domino toppling.  It requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance to get things just right.  But you will find it much easier if you follow the advice here.

First of all you need a very flat and hard surface to set up your dominoes on.  You will find it extremely difficult to topple dominoes on carpets and rugs, so be forewarned.  For small displays, a table may be large enough to accommodate your tiles.  The really large displays are often set up in gymnasiums with hard-wood floors. 

When setting up a large number of dominoes to topple, it is a good idea to make a number of safety-breaks in the sequence.  You do this by removing a few tiles at key points in your pattern, which will save you a lot of heartache when a domino tile is accidentally knocked over, and stops the toppling chain-reaction from destroying all your painstaking hard work before you're ready.

Straight Lines

The first domino formation a beginner should try is the most basic and simple straight line.  All you have to do is set up your dominoes squarely one after an other.  Don't have them at angles to each other or you may find they don't topple the one in front, and they may also fall and hit a domino in another line next to it.  The only skill in this move is to make sure the dominoes are spaced at the right distance from each other.  If your tiles are 1.5 inches long then you should space them about two-thirds of an inch to no-less than half-an-inch apart.  Any farther and they won't knock the next one over.  If they are too close then they'll topple over too fast and lose the satisfying effect you're after. There's no need to measure the precise distance between them, you should find your own judgement is good enough after a few tries.   


A turn is two straight lines that are connected, but going in different directions.  You can have any angle of turn you like from 90 degrees, 180 degrees, to any degree you want.  The things to know about turns are that the distance between dominoes is closer on the inside of the turn, and to make sure the angle between each tile making up the turn isn't too great.  Because the surface area of the hit on the next domino is smaller in a turn, you really want an angle of no more than about 30 degrees between each tile. 


Splits or Split-Offs

A split-off is a single line of dominoes that branches off into two separate lines.  These are key to most complex patterns and displays allowing .freedom in your designs.  Split-offs are pretty easy to set up and just involve setting two dominoes side-by-side so they are almost touching, placed at the front-end of a straight line.  You then line your subsequent tiles in two continuing lines, one for each of the initial two, branching out in turns or two straight lines set at an angle to each other. .


Combining Lines, Splits, and Turns

You can create allsorts of patterns and designs with just the basic elements of domino-toppling.


A diamond-shaped toppling setup like the one illustrated below can be quite easily done and because it is symmetrical it can be toppled in either direction and used anywhere in a display,  It is just a split-off with a series of dominoes offset about one-quarter to one-third of their width,



Now learn about Intermediate Level Domino Toppling


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