Mexican Train is a domino game that can be played by 4 to 10 players. The goal of the game is to build "trains" from a set of 91 dominoes in an effort to be the first player to get rid of your pieces. The game requires only a set of dominoes and marking tokens to play.
The game starts with each player taking a select number of dominoes from the 91 available. Depending on the number of players, the number of dominoes taken at the beginning of the game will differ. For a game being played by four players, 15 dominoes are taken by each player. Twelve dominoes are taken by each player if five or six are playing. Games with seven or eight players take 10 dominoes apiece and 9 and 10 player games take eight dominoes.
The First Piece
After each player takes her dominoes, she places them on their sides so the front is visible only to the owner. Any leftover dominoes are left face down in a pile. The first player to have a turn is the owner of the 12-12 domino. If no player possesses that domino, then take turns drawing from the leftover dominoes, all players picking at the same time, until the piece has been found. Play continues clockwise from the first player.
The first player places his 12-12 domino down. The turns progress with each player placing one domino at a time to create a train, or a row of dominoes extending in his direction. The piece they place must match one of the numbers already in play, so for example, after the initial piece, a domino with a 12 side must be placed to continue from the train. The initial player has a choice: she can either create her own train one piece at a time, or create a Mexican train, placing as many pieces as she can on the first turn. All players can play off of a Mexican train, but cannot play off opponents' trains unless a marker has been placed.
Unable to Place
If at any time a player cannot play a domino on his train, he places a token where the next domino should be placed. This token means all players can now build off the train, starting with any domino they choose. The player that placed a token must draw a new domino from the remaining pile. If you play a double domino, place it sideways on the board and take another turn. The double domino can be added on in either direction.
Ending a Round
The round continues until one player has used up all of her dominoes. At this point the round is over and all players count up the dots on their remaining dominoes. One player should record these numbers on a score sheet. Collect all the dominoes and distribute them again. For the next round, the player with the double 11 goes first. The game will go for a total of 13 rounds, with each subsequent round beginning with the next lowest double domino. The player with the lowest score at the end of the game wins.
Dan Chruscinski has written pieces for both business and entertainment venues. His work has appeared in "Screen Magazine" as well as websites such as Starpulse.com. Chruscinski graduated in 2006 with a degree in English literature from Illinois State University.