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     Welcome to The Wonderful World of

                                 Dominoes Designs

The Official Wolf Lake Mexican Train Domino Game Rules

mex_trainLOGO

Mexican Train is a member of the Trains family of games. There
are several variations of names and rules associated with the
Trains family including Mexican Express, Mexican Dominoes, and
Longana.

The Wolf Lake version of Mexican Train is a compilation of rules
discovered over years of playing that we have developed to make the game move more quickly and strategically. Although the beauty of the game is that it may be started, suspended, and completed at a later time.

OBJECTIVE OF THE GAME
A player plays all the dominoes from their hand onto one or more "train lines" emanating from a central hub or "station hub." Based on number of dominoes in a set, a game may consist of 7-16 hands. A player strives to play off as many of their dominoes as possible in each hand. The winner of the game is the player who has the lowest score at the end of the game. Dominoes are also often referred to as bones or tiles.

EQUIPMENT
The game uses a domino set appropriate to the number of players. In the marketplace, there are Dominoes available in sets of double 6, double 9, double 12, and double 15. All sets come with a small plastic station hub from which to play and markers that are colored train engines. Some sets contain a more elaborate hub. Players select their own colored train markers and that becomes their "train token." Players decide in advance which colored marker will be set aside for the "Mexican Train" token.

A score pad and pencil are needed. One player is designated as the scorekeeper.

train
 
SETUP

The table below determines the number of dominoes drawn in each hand based on the size of the domino set and the number of players.
 

 

Number of players

 

2

3

4

5

6

7

Domino Sets

Number of Bones drawn per player

Double
Six

8

7

5

-

-

-

Double
Nine

9

9

9

7

7

7

Double Twelve

15

12

12

9

9

9

Double
Fifteen

15

15

15

15

15

13


The Play – We will assume that there are four players, playing with a double 12 set. A double 12 set contains 91 dominoes  - double blank through double 12.

Step 1

Place all the dominoes face down on the table and shuffle them. Each player draws the appropriate number of dominoes., Note: It is not necessary to take turns in drawing. They may all be drawn at one time. The remaining dominoes are left face down on the table as the “boneyard.” The drawn dominoes are placed in front of each player.

Step 2

The score keeper will now ask for players who have the largest double in their hand, beginning with the double twelve. NOTE: A player does not have to declare they have a double if they do not have a follow up play to open with. For instance, a person does not have to declare they have a double seven if they cannot open with a matching seven their next turn. The only exception is when the game is down to its last hand and then the double has to be declared.

The highest opening double domino declared is then placed face up in the center of the domino hub or in the center of the table if the game set did not include a hub. The scorekeeper then crosses off that double and it is not used again to start a hand.

Step 3

Each subsequent player must then match the double domino in the hub creating their train line. If they cannot match they must draw a domino from the boneyard each turn until they can. The train line is built by placing matching dominoes end to end, working toward themselves.

Once a player has started their train line, their next turn they may start a Mexican Train line from the center domino using the token that had been designated for the “Mexican Train line.” NOTE: Then, anyone can play on the Mexican Train line. Or, they may start another player who has not been able to create a train line. Anytime players cannot play on their own trains or the Mexican Train, they must draw a domino from the boneyard. If they cannot play that domino either, they put their train token on the hub at the top of their line. This now opens their train line and allows other players to play (board) the player’s line as well.

If a player plays a double domino on his line or another’s open line, he places it sideways on the line creating a “spur” and must “close” the double with another domino. If he can not close the double, he announces it and draws from the boneyard. If he still cannot close, the subsequent players take turns drawing from the boneyard one at a time until some one closes the double. In the meantime those who have not successfully closed the double put their token train on the hub. NOTE: They can not take down the token train until they have the opportunity to play on their own line again. They can however play on other “open” boardable train lines or the Mexican Train line.

NOTE: If a player has not yet opened his train line and another player puts down a double that he cannot close, the player who has not yet opened continues to draw from the boneyard until they draw a qualifying domino to start their train line.

When a spur is created on the player’s line (placing the double domino sideways) they can now play off of either end of the spur as well as the center. When a double is played on the Mexican Train line it is not placed sideways. It still must be closed, but it cannot be played as a spur.

train train    train


NOTE: If a player, who is unable to play from his hand and is drawing from the boneyard, should draw a double that he can play on his line, an open line, or the Mexican Train, he may do so but does not have to draw again to close it.  Each subsequent player will have the opportunity to close the double if they cannot then he will draw again to try.

NOTE: Although you have made a play on the board from your hand you may announce that you are leaving your train up voluntarily and place your train token on the first domino on your train line. It can only be put up or taken down when it is your turn. You might want to do that if you have no play on your train line and would like someone to play on yours.

NOTE: If at the opening of a round of play no one has an eligible double to play, the player who won the previous round of play begins the process of checking the dominoes to find an eligible one in the boneyard. Each player takes turns checking dominoes until an eligible one is found. In the process of checking dominoes, if you do not have a followup, you do not need to declare it. The player who does have an eligible domino and a followup, places it on the hub. That player then discards their choice of any domino from his/her hand.

Should no one find an eligible double with a followup, then the player with the highest eligible double in their hand MUST declare it, and play it, even though they don’t have a  followup.

Step 4

Play continues with each player taking a turn going clockwise. If a player only has one domino left he must say “Choo Choo.” If does not say Choo Choo before he completes the play, another player may call him on it and the player with the one domino must draw another penalty domino from the boneyard.

Step 5


The hand ends when one player “gets off his train line” by playing all of his or her dominoes. If the player’s last domino is a double they must draw from the boneyard to close it. If not able, play continues. Should, in this process, no player drawing is able to close and the boneyard is empty, the hand is over.

The hand may also end if the boneyard is empty and no double to close. At the point the boneyard is empty, each player makes one more play from his hand. Then the hand is declared over and each player counts their remaining dominoes. NOTE: A double domino cannot be played during this process unless it can be closed by the player initiating it. 

Step 6

Score the hand by adding up the total number of dots on the leftover dominoes in each player’s hand. Record the totals for the hand on the score sheet.

Step 7

Play twelve more hands the same way. On the second hand, again start with the highest declared domino.  NOTE: Should no one have an eligible double domino ( a double that has not yet been played) in their hand, the winner of the previous hand will turn face up a domino from the boneyard. Each player will follow until an eligible double domino is turned up. The player who turned it plays it on the hub and the player to his right pulls a domino from his hand leaving him with the proper number of dominoes for the hand. The rest of the overturned dominoes are turned over and reshuffled.

Step 8

At the end of thirteen hands, the player with the lowest overall total wins.

If you have any questions when playing or would like to share some strategies, just e-mail us at conni@dominoesdesigns.

Have a great time playing! Remember, “All’s fair in love and dominoes.”

Mexican Train

Mexican Train is a member of the Trains family of games. There are several variations of names and rules associated with the Trains family including Mexican Express, Mexican Dominoes, and Longana.

 

mex_trainlogo

 

Chicken Foot

Chicken Foot dominoes is one of the more recent versions of the Train domino family. It is also known as Chicken Dominoes, Chickie Dominoes and Chickie."

 

chickenfoot_logo

Enjoy Mexican Train or Chicken Foot Dominoes.