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 My Domino Kit

Here's the whole spread. I'll dig into the individual boxes in a moment, but you can already see that a product called "Domino Rally" makes up a large portion of my supplies. The Pressman Toy Company made a bunch of sets throughout the '80s and '90s containing various colored dominoes and stunts. Unfortunately, they don't seem to sell any new sets these days. However, vitually identical sets are sold under the name "Domino Express" in Europe.

After many years and many sets, I estimate that I've accumulated about 2,500 Domino Rally dominoes. The earliest-made ones have a little nub on one end where I guess the plastic was injected into a mold. Standing a domino on that end is dangerous. Improvements were made later which resulted in dominoes with both sides being perfectly flat, thereby reducing the risk of a premature toppling. In addition to these, there are about 500 other dominoes which include traditional 6 and 9-spot wooden sets and pieces from some board games that I can't remember.

There are also about 500 more "mini-dominoes". I do remember that they originally came with templates that you could drop dominoes into to make spirals and other formations, but they were lost long ago. On the other end of the size-o-meter are a couple of "mega-dominoes" made by affixing cutouts from Domino's Pizza boxes to blocks of wood. These are used to trigger large stunts, usually the grand finales. This picture illustrates the full range in scale.

It's good to have an assortment of balls handy. The best way to easily descend or cross from one location to another is to push a lightweight ball onto a track and just let it roll. Ping-pong balls, wiffle balls, foam balls, golf balls, marbles, ball bearings, or even a toy car will work. The slower the balls rolls, the better. This helps heighten the suspense and stretch the course's runtime.

Each Domino Rally set included several straight and curved tracks. There were a few dominoes with tabs in their bases that popped into the tracks. They are designed to set up quickly, but I like them because they help keep the chain reaction going. A particular stunt may cause ordinary dominoes to scatter unpredictably and interrupt the course. These tracks guarantee that the dominoes will fall in a perfectly straight line. As an added bonus, they can also ascend short heights.

Domino Rally has produced many different stunts, some of which work more reliably than others. Pictured here are three of them. The blue Staircase is actually half of a stunt called the Elevator. A pulley system pushed a domino off of a tall platform and down the stairs. The pulley part falls into the unreliable category, so I just use the staircase to go up instead of down. The black thing is a Starburst. Hitting the plunger triggers five new domino trails at once. The red Bridge is a simple yet useful over/under tool.

A different line of toys have proven to be very useful for domino toppling purposes. K'NEX pieces are great for building simple machines like levers and pulleys, and a pair of motors from their Starburst Spinner Thrill Rides set have allowed for more complex contraptions.

Copyright 2003-2014 Mike Perrucci