Mexican Train Rules
Object of the Game:
The object of Mexican Train is to be the player with the total lowest score at the end of the game.
Place the train hub in the middle of the table with the double 12 domino in the center. This domino serves as the “engine” for the round.
Shuffle the remaining dominoes face down. Each player draws the number of dominoes shown below, depending on the number of players:
|# Players :||2—3||4||5||6||7||8|
Players arrange their drawn dominoes on edge with the pips (dots) facing the player but hidden from the other players.
The remaining face down dominoes are left aside in the “boneyard” for drawing during play.
To determine who plays first, each player draws a domino from the boneyard. The player with the highest pip count begins the game. Play continues clockwise.
A full game of Mexican Train will consist of 13 rounds, from double 12 down to double blank. The round ends once a player is out of dominoes, even if the last domino played is a double. Once the first round is finished, players will begin the second round with the double 11. The starting player for each round will rotate in a clockwise order.
On a player’s first turn, they will start to build their train, a single row of end matching dominoes starting from one of the eight train hub locations and moving towards the player.
The end of the domino placed in the hub must match the engine. For example, in the first round, players will need to start their train with a 12, since the engine is a double 12.
Players can play multiple dominoes on their first turn. The ends of each domino played must match. Here is an example of how the dominoes are placed to form the train:
Boneyard: If a player is unable to play a domino, the player must draw one domino from the boneyard. The player may immediately play the domino if able. If the player is unable to play the domino, they must place a train token at the start of their train. This will allow other players to play on their train after their first turn. The player removes the train once they can successfully play on their train, at which time other players can no longer play on that train. If the boneyard is empty, the player just places a train token on their train and their turn is over. Players may not draw from the boneyard if they have a domino that can be played.
In the unlikely event that a player goes out on their first turn, the other players can complete their first turn before the round ends.
After the first turn, players may only play one domino per turn, except for a double domino which is explained below.
Players may place a domino on their own train, the Mexican Train, or any other player’s train that is marked with a train token. If a player is unable to play, they must draw a domino from the boneyard. See boneyard rules above.
When a double domino is played, it is placed sideways at the end of the train, and the player must immediately play another domino with an end that matches the double. For example, if a double 4 is played, the player must immediately play a domino with a matching 4 on one end.
If the player is unable to follow the double domino with a matching domino, they must draw from the boneyard. If they can play the drawn domino on the double, their turn is over. If not, they must place a train marker on their train, their turn is over, and their double domino becomes an Open Double.
Once an Open Double is created, no other trains can be played on until the Open Double is satisfied. The next player must play only on the Open Double. Play will continue until a player is able to play on the Open Double.
The Mexican Train can be started by any player after their first turn, beginning with a domino end that matches the engine. A train marker is placed on it to indicate that the Mexican Train is open for all players. Only one Mexican Train is built per round.
Players will count the total number of pips on their remaining dominoes and record their score. The goal is to have the lowest score. Once the scores for the round are recorded, players begin the next round.