Number of Players: 2-8
Game Duration: 60 mins
Players Aged: 12+
You will need: A set of double 12 dominoes (91 tiles) or 2-4
players can use a double 9 set (55 tiles); a personal marker
for each player; a double marker.
The markers could be coins, poker chips or coloured counters
as long as they are all unique.
Deal out the bones as follows:
With a set of double twelves:
2-4 players, 15 tiles each
5-6 players, 12 tiles each
7-8 players, 11 tiles each
Remaining tiles form the boneyard.
With a set of double fifteens:
2-6 players, 15 tiles each
7-8 players, 13 tiles each
9-12 players, 11 tiles each
A 'bone' or 'tile' is an actual domino.
A 'pip' is a spot on the bone, so the double six has twelve
There are two stages to this game; building trains, and the
playing stage. Play moves clockwise in both stages.
The double 12 is placed in the centre of the table. This is
the engine. The remaining dominoes are shuffled face down.
The first player then builds a train, a sequence of matching
dominoes. The train must start with a twelve (so it can be
coupled to the engine). The dominoes will match according
to their number as in a standard dominoes game.
Player 1 lays their whole train leading from the double twelve
out towards them. The aim is to lay as many tiles as possible
so you have less to get rid of later.
After Player 1 lays out their whole train it
is Player 2’s turn to lay their train. If any player
doesn’t have a 12 in their hand then they must keep
all their dominoes and wait for the playing stage. They have
no train of their own.
So at this stage most, if not all, the players
will build their own train, a personal playing area. The trains
will lead out from the engine towards the player that laid
them. This formation is known as the roundhouse.
Eventually it will be player 1’s turn
Each player, in turn, places a tile to make the trains longer
and to try and empty their hand.
• When you cannot go you must draw one domino from the
boneyard unless the boneyard is empty.
• If you can play, you must place a tile.
It is at this point that the markers are used.
The double marker rules are explained below. If there is no
double marker in play then you have three options.
1) Lay on the end of your own train. If you
cannot lay from your hand you can draw from the boneyard and
can lay that tile if it matches. If it doesn't match you place
your personal marker on the end of your own train. This opens
it to other players. When a player has laid a domino on the
end of your train, take your personal marker back.
2) If you cannot lay on your own train but somebody
else has their personal marker in play then you can lay on
the end of that train.
3) You can also start the Mexican Train. It
must start with a twelve so that it can be coupled to the
engine. You lay just this first domino. From then on it is
open season on the Mexican train, anyone can lay on it at
any time. Only one Mexican train is allowed per game, but
you can start this one Mexican train at any time in the playing
So when the game is in full swing you can lay:
• On another player’s train which has a personal
• On the Mexican train
• On your own train.
If you can’t go for any reason then you put your personal
marker on your own train.
A player that could not build a train in the
building trains phase of the game is stuck without one. They
must pass until a Mexican train is created or until double
and personal markers are on the table. If a twelve comes into
their possession from the boneyard then they can start a Mexican
If a player lays a double at the end of a train then the double
marker is put there.
That player must also lay another domino in
that go. If they can't they draw from the boneyard. They can
lay on the same train on which they put the double. In this
case the double marker is removed. They can also lay on any
other train, in which case the double marker remains in play.
The next domino must be laid at the end of the
train showing the double marker. If you cannot lay against
the double you must pass. If you pass put your personal marker
at the end of your train. When a domino has been laid on the
train with the double the marker returns to the engine until
it is needed again. Remember:
As long as the double marker is in play you
must lay on the double, or pass.
If you pass on a double you must place your personal marker
at the end of your own train.
If you have several doubles in your hand you
may place them in one turn, on different trains that are in
play , i.e. a 5-5, a 3-3 an 8-8 then to end the go a 5-4.
If you go like this then the double marker stays on the 8-8.
You can also place your last tile against the double you have
just laid. So if the last domino in this go was an 8-6 placed
on the 8-8 then no double marker would remain in play.
The end of the play
The last domino in your hand must be announced. If another
player notices that you have one tile left and have not announced
it then he can make you draw two tiles from the boneyard,
unless it is empty. If play goes round the circle and returns
to you with nobody noticing that you have not announced then
you have got away with it and can lay that tile.
The round finishes when one player has no more
tiles to play or when the game is blocked.
After you have played this round you play 12
more rounds, the next starting with the double 11, then double
10 and so on down to the double blank. There are thirteen
rounds in a game of Mexican trains and you score cumulatively.
A player that empties their hand scores 0. At this point all
the other players score the total number of pips on the dominoes
left in their hand. The lowest score after thirteen rounds