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Mexican Train Domino Game Rules and Directions

Mexican Train is a fun domino game to play with kids and family. It has more rules but once you get the hang of it everyone will love it. I love using a larger domino set and inviting a bunch of friends over to play. It has simple rules and goes relatively quickly. You can play this game with little kids. However, you would need to help the young player with the math involved at the end.

Mex Train Dominoes
Kids playing Mexican Train

Come see our 10 Great Domino Games for Children Blog for more Domino Game Ideas.


  • A block- type domino game
  • Two to Sixteen Players using double-nine domino set up to a double-eighteen set. This tutorial will be focusing on using a double-nine domino set.
  • Mexican Train Hub. (the black piece you see in the picture. One comes with most domino sets)
  • Domino Racks are a perfect addition for this game. Though not required, they make play much easier for little ones and keep your dominoes upright when the table gets bumped. The racks in the pictures can be found HERE.


  1. The dominoes are placed face down and “shuffled”
  2. Next, each player draws tiles
    • 2 players – 12 tiles each
    • 3 players – 11 tiles each
    • 4 players – 10 tiles each
  3. Any remaining tiles become the “boneyard” and may be drawn as play continues.
  4. The first play is made by the person with the double-nine domino. If no one has the double-nine then players draw a single domino each until the double-nine is found and played in the middle of the Mexican Train Hub piece. The player that begins the domino layout with the double-nine domino gets to “satisfy” that double by starting their train.
  5. Game continues with each player playing a tile on an open end of the domino layout. Domino ends must connect with a matching number of pips (that is the domino term for the dots on the domino). Doubles do not become spinners and can only be played off two ends.
  6. Open end options are 1) Each player has their own train that branches off the Mexican Train Hub, personal trains start with the number of pips matching the number of pips on the starting domino. Unless open, this train can only be added to by that player  2) Someone can start a “public train” that starts with the same number of pips as the starting double and branches off the other end. It can be added to by any player. The separate Mexican train of tiles runs around the playing area and can only be played on one end. 3) On open train of another player. The personal train of a player becomes open when that player can not play a tile on their turn. If a player can’t play on an open end than he/she draws one tile from the “boneyard”. If the drawn domino can’t be played then it is the next persons turn and a marker is placed on his train to mark it open (we just use a penny). Once a player has made a play, they remove any marker from their own personal train of tiles.
  7. Doubles: Doubles do not become spinners and can only be played off two ends. If a player puts down a double, they must play another tile on the double to “satisfy” it. Should a player play any double and be unable to satisfy it then the play moves to the next player, if that player can not “satisfy” the play then it moves to the next player until satisfied. If no one can make the play than the player who placed the double has to draw from the boneyard until it is satisfied. Then play continues as normal.
  8. The object of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all the dominoes in your hand and then yell “Domino!”. If play is blocked and no player can add a tile to the layout then the game is over. The winner of the round is the player that has dominoed or the player with the least amount of pips remaining. All players then add up their remaining pips and record their score
  9. The next round starts with double 8’s, Third round starts with double 7’s…so on and so forth. The player with the least mount of points at the end of the last round wins.
Domino Game Mexican Train
Dominoes branching from Mexican Train Hub


  • If we want to play this game and not have it take a long time, we simply play a few rounds and pick the largest double in the players starting hands to put in the hub. We score each round for a winner.

Some Fun Domino Vocabulary (Cause it is just more fun to call them pips) 

Pips – The name for the dots on the dominoes.

Spinner – A double in the layout which may played on both sides and both ends. Each domino game has a rule about spinners: a) There are no spinners; b) Only the first double played is a spinner; or, c) All doubles are spinners.

Boneyard – The tiles that are purposely not drawn at the beginning of the game, so that players can draw from the boneyard during the game when they do not hold a playable tile in their hand. If tiles are all distributed in the game except for a pile of “extras” that can’t be evenly distributed among the players, this pile of dominoes are referred to as “widows”.

Arm- A row of dominoes in a straight line in the layout of a matching or scoring game.

Come see our 10 Great Domino Games for Children Blog for more Domino Game Ideas.

Domino Holders at Lady and the Carpenter
Card Holders (Set of 2)