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Official Mexican Train Dominoes Rules

Mexican Train is a delightful domino game that combines tile-matching, strategy, and a touch of friendly competition. Here's how to get your train rolling:

Objective: The objective is to have the lowest score at the end of the game. Players aim to play all their dominoes and avoid drawing new ones.

Equipment:

  • Double-twelve domino set (91 tiles)

  • Train markers or coins for each player

  • Central hub (optional but useful for organizing trains)

  • Score sheets

Setup:

  1. Determine the Starting Player: Draw lots or use any other method to select who goes first.

  2. Shuffle the Dominoes: Place the dominoes face down and shuffle them.

  3. Draw Dominoes:

    • For 2-4 players, each player draws 15 dominoes.

    • For 5-6 players, each player draws 12 dominoes.

    • For 7-8 players, each player draws 10 dominoes.

  4. Set Up the Central Hub: Place the double-twelve domino in the center to start the game. If no one has the double-twelve, the players draw from the boneyard until the double-twelve is found. The player who draws it will play first.

Gameplay:

  1. Starting the Trains:

    • The player with the double-twelve starts the first round by placing it in the center.

    • Each player then begins their own train by playing a domino that matches the double-twelve. This forms the initial train for each player.

  2. Taking Turns:

    • Players take turns playing one domino at a time.

    • On their turn, a player can either:

      • Continue their own train.

      • Start the Mexican Train (if not already started) by placing a matching domino on it.

      • Play on the Mexican Train or any other player's train if it is marked as open (public).

    • If a player cannot play a domino, they must draw one from the boneyard. If the drawn domino can be played, they play it immediately; otherwise, they place it in their hand and pass their turn.

    • If a player cannot play and there are no dominoes left in the boneyard, they must mark their train as open (public) by placing a train marker on it.

  3. Playing Doubles:

    • When a player plays a double, they must play an additional domino immediately. If they cannot, they must draw from the boneyard and play if possible. If they still cannot play, their train is marked as open.

    • Doubles must be "satisfied" (an additional domino played on them) before any other play can continue.

  4. Winning the Round:

    • The round ends when a player plays all their dominoes or when no more plays can be made.

    • Players then score points based on the total number of pips on their remaining dominoes.

Scoring:

  • Players record their scores at the end of each round.

  • The player with the fewest total points after all rounds wins the game.

Additional Rules:

  • Mexican Train: This is a separate train that any player can start after the initial turn. It remains open for all players to play on throughout the game.

  • Open Trains: Any train marked with a train marker is open for all players to play on.

  • Ending the Game: The game typically continues for several rounds, with each round starting with the next lower double domino (e.g., double-eleven, double-ten, etc.).

Mexican Train Dominoes is a fun and strategic game that combines luck and skill. It's perfect for family gatherings and friendly competitions.

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