How to Play Mexican Train Dominoes

By Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor
16 Domino can be played with 2-8 players.

Dominoes date back to the 1100s and were originally made to represent all of the combinations available on a pair of six-sided numbered dice. There are many different games played with dominoes, including the very popular Mexican Train game. The dots on a domino are called pips, points or spots.

Play Mexican Train Dominoes

Spread all of the dominoes on the table with the dots face down.

Mix up the dominoes by sliding them around on the table.

Allow each player to select 15 dominoes from the pile. All players can select their dominoes at the same time.

Look for the double 12 domino (domino with 12 dots on both ends of the domino). The player with the double 12 places the domino at the center of the table. If the double 12 is not in anyone's hand (group of dominoes selected), each player draws one domino from the boneyard (dominoes left after each player selects his 15) until the double 12 is found and played.

Create your own train. Look through your dominoes for one with 12 dots on it. The person playing the double 12 plays first by laying his domino down along the double 12 so that the 12 dots on the domino touch one part of the double 12. Up to eight lines can start from the double 12, one from each corner and in the middle sections between corners.

Place your marker on the domino you play so that other players cannot play on your 'train' (line of dominoes created by you).

Wait for other players to play their dominoes with 12 dots on the first domino played.

Play a domino on your line so that the number of pips on the other side of the 12 pips matches. For example, you play a domino with 12 pips and 10 pips and your next turn you play a domino with 10 pips and three pips and so forth.

Draw a domino from the boneyard and remove the marker from your train when you cannot play a domino on your train. You must continue drawing dominoes until you can play a domino.

Play a domino on any train that does not have a marker on it or begin drawing dominoes until you can play. You must remove the marker from your train if you cannot play a domino.

Replace the marker on your train when you can play on your train again.

Continue alternating turns and playing dominoes until a player no longer has any dominoes in his hand.

Count all of the pips on your dominoes after the first person plays the last domino in her hand.

Record each person's pip tally on a sheet of paper.

Repeat Steps 1 through 14, changing the beginning domino to the double 11, then the double 10 and so forth until the last round that begins with the double blank (domino with a line on it and no pips).

Determine who the winner is after playing the last round (started by the double blank) by adding up each person's score from the end of each round. The person with the lowest point total wins.

Tip

Play a double to get an additional turn. Watch the dominoes played by your opponent's carefully and try to block their ability to play if possible. Shorten the game by allowing each player to lay her dominoes out from the double on her own line with matching pips until everyone is ready to play.

Warning

If you cannot play on your turn, you must draw dominoes from the boneyard until you find a domino you can play. You must remove the marker from your line so that other players can use it. It can take a long time to play one full game of Mexican Train so make sure you have several hours available or can leave the game set up to be continued at a later time.