Planning a Domino Event

General Rules for Planning a Domino Event / Course

Note: Planning a big and complicated project like CDT can be very challenging and may take several months.

Planning an event like CDT is a long term task and is very complicated. This is because you don't only have to think about the dominoes and the falldown but also have to solve many logistic and organizational problems. The text below is a rough guildeline for planning a domino parcours - not a whole event.


Point 1: Brainstorming


Before you start planning a project you should do a brainstorming in order to collect ideas and find out if you have got enough ideas on how to built up dominoes about a specific theme you have chosen before. If you have not got enough ideas you should simply choose a new theme for your project. All ideas should be written down instantly.

When the brainstorming is finished you should try to get as many information and pictures of your ideas as possible - later this will make it way more easy to realize your ideas.

After this first stage of the planning is finished you should start creating a Masterplan.


The CDT 2011 Masterplan
The CDT 2011 Masterplan

Point 2: The Masterplan

The masterplan is a true to scale plan of the entire project which is showing all of the different lines, fields, walls and effects. It shows how everything is going to be set up and makes the whole planning a lot easier since you can read the exact number of dominoes, which you have to put in each line, off it. So you know how many dominoes your going to need for the event even before you've started setting the whole thing up.

After finishing the first draft of the masterplan you should quickly check if you have got enough dominoes to set up everything according to your plan. Of course the number of dominoes you need of each colour can only be estimated before the exact field-plans are finished.


Point 3: Designing the Fields

In order to get a good looking final project and to know the exact number of dominoes that you'll need for the project it is necessary to create absolutely accurate field-plans (You can find instructions on how to design fields below). Depending on the size, complexity and number of fields this time and effort you will have to put in this task can vary.

When the field plans are finished you'll get to the crunch mode.


Point 4: Counting the Dominoes

In order to find out the most accurate possible number of toppled dominoes after the falldown you need to count all the dominoes before you set them up. But before you can do that you'll need to analyse the field-plans. That means that you have to count how many dominoes of each color you'll need for each field (This program made by Tim Weißker might help with that.)

When you've finished analysing the field-plans you can start counting the dominoes. Unfortunately this is a very boring and tedious thing to do since every single domino has to get counted. The dominoes that are already counted should be sorted by color and put in boxes of about 2000 dominoes.

When you've finished counting you've reached the final stage of your event!


Point 5: Setting Up the Dominoes

There's not much to say about this part of you event. You have to set up all the dominoes according to the plan and when you've finished you can start the chain reaction!


And that's it! We hope that this rough guideline will help you to design your own little domino event!


General Rules for Designing Field-Plans

Note: The planning of a good picture field is a lot of work and can take several hours for a small and several days for a big field.

This is how a typical grid for a field-plan should look like.
This is how a typical grid for a field-plan should look like.

The first thing you need in order to plan a good picture field is of course a picture. The critical point here is how big you can make or want to make the field - detailed pictures will need a lot of dominoes. At least 5000 dominoes are recommendable to get a good resolution then.

A more simple shape will require less dominoes, maybe 1000 to 3000.

But now on to the planning itself:

The first step after clarifiying how many dominoes you'll approximately need for the picture you want to build is making a grid as you can see it on the image on the left.


On this grid, the space between the lines should be the same as between the dominoes (just like in double lines, see "General"). If you don't plan it that way, but then build it like that, the picture will turn out stretched in the actual field.


Now there are several ways to get the picture into the field. You could simply transfer the original picture you want to transform into a domino field by eye, filling the cells of the grid with color as if you were re-painting the image. But that requires a really good eye and will often turn out not really precise. On easy patterns, like letters, you can do this though.


In fact, the other method only takes one more step: If you have a good image editing programme, you can lay the image you want to transform on top of the grid and then reduce its opacity so much that it's only a very faint background and you clearly see the grid over it.

A traced domino field.
A traced domino field.

And then you simply color the grid according to the image laying under it, as if you were tracing it.

A good programm to create a field plan with that method is "", which is freeware. To Mac users, we recommend "Gimp".

Grid for 30k domineos
For all of you who want to try planning a field with this method: This is a 'prefabricated' grid of 30,000 dominoes that might help you to get started with your plan ;)
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