Tuesday May 21st 2024

Mexican Train Dominoes – The rules are a bit loco!

Pros: makes you think, comes in nice carry case, family friendly

Cons: takes a bit to learn the rules, can move slow

I had never heard of Mexican Train Dominoes until I visited my in-laws for the winter holidays. They like to play games and this was one of the new games they had acquired. The game is similar to standard dominoes with some fun twists. Having never played dominoes I found it difficult to learn Mexican Train Dominoes with no background knowledge. Once I caught on I found the game to be fairly fun and mentally stimulating but a little slow moving.

What’s in the Package?

In the package for Mexican Train Dominoes you receive 91 “double-twelve” dominoes with colored dots. You also receive the train “hub” which is a brown plastic octagon where the players will begin their “trains.” The hub for this set has a button and it plays very loud train noises (I don’t think you ever need to play the noise, and I would avoid it if possible). You also get 13 little plastic trains, a score pad, and a nice metal-looking plastic box to store the game.

How to Play

To play, all dominoes are placed face down on the table and players each draw between 11-15 dominoes – depending on the number of players. Players then look at their dominoes – the game can be played open where everyone sees each others dominoes or you can keep them private. One player must begin the game by putting a double (a domino with the same number of dots on each side) on the hub. The players then go around the table and begin their trains. As with dominoes, you are matching one side of your domino to the open side of the prior domino on the table. On the first turn everyone needs to match to the hub.

Now there are a few twists to the game to make this different from regular dominoes. In addition to the trains you and the other players are creating there is a “mule” train that anyone can play from. You can add dominoes either to your train or the mule train. Now if your turn comes around and you can not make a move you have to draw a new domino from the pile. If you still can not make a move you put your train up on the hub and any other player can play on your train at their next turn if they wish.

The round is over when the first person uses up all their dominoes. The remaining players then count the dots on their left over dominoes and note them on the score card. After completing all of the desired rounds the player with the least points (dots) wins the game.

Fun Factor

As you can see the instructions are a bit complicated, more so than regular dominoes. It took me a couple games to completely get the rules. I would imagine this might be too complicated for younger children. Although it is a good educational game as it will teach children to count the dots on their dominoes and practice matching. It also teaches strategy in a fun way.

Once I got the hang of the game I found it fun for a few rounds but it can definitely wear on. When playing with a larger group it can take a while to get to your turn. It definitely helps to play with an exuberant group who can keep the game lively.


Overall this is a fun game. it is a nice family game that everyone can sit around the table and play together. The rules are a bit advanced and there is definitely a learning curve. Once you get the hang of the game it is enjoyable to play a few quick rounds before dinner. I would not have the attention span to play the game for too long though.

Also posted to Epinions

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