A fun game to play with friends and family – learn how to play Mexican Train.
So far, we have shared: Knock, Ripple , Chase the Ace ,Bluff, Nerts, Play or Pay and Tenzi. This week’s game is meant to play with 2-8 players – is super fun and fast moving. The more you play, the quicker you get at it and the more strategy can be played!
Mexican Train Dominoes
To start, you will need:
- 2-8 players
- Mexican Train game or dominoes – there are all kinds of fancy ones you can get!
- Train for each person – a marker of any kind can be used. Trains come with the Mexican Train set.
We love playing this game with family and talking about life, laughing and just hanging out.
To get rid of all of your dominoes first. Played in several rounds. Whoever has the lowest points after all rounds, wins!
SETTING UP THE GAME
Place all dominoes in the center of the players face down. “Shuffle” them by moving them around to make sure they are mixed up. This is known as the “boneyard.”
Depending on the number of players, each player draws a set number of dominoes. Up to 4 players take 15 dominoes each, 5 or 6 take 12 each, 7 or 8 take 10 each.
Each player picks up the designated number of tiles and starts arranging them in order (more on that below).
The hub is placed in the middle of the players and the rest of the dominoes are pushed to the sides to draw from throughout the round.
Each player has a slot of the hub to work off of.
START OF THE GAME
- The player with the double of the round starts first.
For example, the 1st round is twelves. The player with the double twelves will be the one who goes first.
- He or she places the double twelve in the hub and then is allowed one additional turn.
- Play goes in clockwise direction.
- If nobody has the double to start the round, players pick dominoes from the boneyard until the double is found.
HOW TO PLAY MEXICAN TRAIN
- The player starts his or her ‘train’ by putting their first domino into their chosen slot on the hubs
- The end pointing towards the middle must match the central hub domino.
For example: if it is twelves, the first domino played has to have one side of twelve and the other side will be a different number. This is one turn. Play continues in a clockwise direction.
- Each player continue to extend this ‘train’ by adding one domino from their hand per turn.
- At each subsequent turn, a player can put down only one domino on any of the trains that are available to that player.
- If a player is unable to play a domino in his/her train, he or she must take a domino from the boneyard (the excess dominoes). If possible, the new domino from the boneyard is played to one of the available trains and that is the end of the turn.
- If the player still cannot play, then the player places a marker on the domino at the end of their train, thus making that player’s train available for all the other player’s to use.
- When a player plays a domino to their own train, if their train has a marker on it, the marker is removed.
- If a player plays a double, then that player immediately has another turn.
At each turn, a player has a choice to play off of these trains:
- The player’s own train.
- The Mexican Train – If not yet started, the player can start the train with a domino matching the central Double. It is placed by the player who started it.
- Another player’s train but only if it is has a marker on it.
- If a player is unable to start their train in their first turn, they simply put their train marker next to their slot.
- The marker is taken down once they are able to start their train in their hub.
- If a player is unable to play and the boneyard is empty, the player must pass and place a marker on his/her train (if not already up).
VARIATIONS ON DOUBLES
The most common additional rule for doubles play is that where a double exists at the end of any train, the double must then be ‘satisfied’ (laid against) by the next player, even if the double is on another player’s train that is not marked.
All other available trains are ignored and if the player cannot play against the double immediately or after drawing from the boneyard, the player must place a marker on their train and play passes to the next player.
HOW TO WIN
The goal is to be the first player to get rid of all the dominoes in their hand.
When this happens, even if the last tile is a double, the game ends.
The winning player gets zero points. The other players score the total of the number of spots on the dominoes still left in their hands.
Rounds are played (can be done a number of ways but typically – twelves to zero) and the player with the least amount of points overall is the winner!
HOW TO SCORE
- After someone has gone out, everyone counts up the dots on their remaining dominoes.
- If you have a double zero (which has no dots on it) when the game ends, it’s worth 50 points!! You don’t want to be left stuck with that double zero domino.
- The exception to this rule is during the final round, where double zeroes is the starting domino.
Then if you have the double ones when someone goes out, it’s worth 50 points.
I created a printable version of these rules so that you can download and refer to:
Download this set of game rules and score sheet. For personal use only.