Players: 2 to 7
Playing time: About
15-30 minutes per round
My husband and I learned to play Mexican Train
years ago at a family Christmas party. It’s just a domino game, really. All you need is
a set of dominoes (double-twelve, preferably) and some kind of marker (we used pennies).
But when I found this version of the game—with colorful plastic trains as markers and a
station in the center that makes train whistle sounds (as well as the dominoes, score
cards, and a carrying case to keep it all together)—I couldn’t resist…
play, you start with double-zeros in the middle of the station (you move up to
double-ones on the next round, then double-twos, etc.). Each player draws 10-15
dominoes, depending on how many people are playing. To begin, each player must start his
or her own “train” by playing a domino with a zero on one side. Players then take turns
adding to their train (or to what we call the “community train”—an extra train on which
anyone can play), one domino at a time. If a player can’t play, he or she must draw a
domino and place a train marker on his or her train. Any player can play a domino on a
train that has a marker on it.
If a player plays a double, normal play
stops, and the next player must play a domino matching that double. Once a matching
domino has been played, normal play continues.
The first player to get
rid of all of his or her dominoes is the winner of the round. If you want to keep score,
players add up the numbers on their remaining dominoes—and the player with the lowest
score after playing all thirteen rounds (or a specified number of rounds) is the
Mexican Train is a great family game—as long as you have plenty of
room (like a big table or lots of floor space) for playing. It’s a fun, simple game for
adults, yet it’s easy enough for the kids. We played it with my six-year-old nephew, and
he only needed a little bit of help. And while you don’t really need a special Mexican
Train set to play the game, I have to admit that we all got extra laughs out of making
the train whistle blow.