We have been running train meet and greet events throughout the country and they have been great fun for everyone.
There is no greater delight than watching someone play for the first time and see the light go on when they like the game. It’s been our experience that it takes three rounds of play before the light goes off in their head and they feel comfortable playing on their own.
Here’s some tips:
Divide Player By Skill Level
Put the beginners at one table. Have a seasoned player or coach sit next to them and view their tile racks and advise them on moves.
There as many variations of dominoes as there are players. Some people are very resistant to playing any way then their way.
Let them play with a group of people who also play with their rules. We run our tournament with the chickenfoot answering three on a double and people seem to love this version.
It also adds an element of strategy with the doubles.
Who Goes First?
This is a common question and we let each table choose how to best do this. Some people play that the winner goes first. Others that the person to the right of the winner starts. For our starting round, we let the person who drove or walked the furthest open the game.
Best Table Set-up
We found rectangular tables of six with the beginners sitting in the middle seat and a coach on either side works best. It also isn’t too long of a table and no one has to reach.
Making it Easy
We definitely recommend having racks and tile bags. The boneyard can be confusing for beginners and reaching across strangers can be intimidating. Tile bags make it much easier.
The racks really save on space and there are no dropped tiles.
On non tournament train meet-ups, we give a prize for the lowest and highest score for each table.
On tournaments, we give a first second and third prize for lowest score for the entire group. If there is a fee for the tournament, we divide it up with first prize getting 40% . Second prize -30%, Third Prize -20%.
The other 10 % pays for refreshments.
We are crossing the country this summer and running tournaments on the way, please let us know if you would like us to help with your tournament. Our goal is to have fun and to teach as many people as possible the game
March 8th, 2013
This is the most disputed rule for Mexican Train Fun. More fights happen over this rule than any other rule.
This is the official rule:
If you don’t announce that you have only one tile left BEFORE the next player completes their turn, then you must draw two tiles as your penalty.
You announce that you have one tile left by announcing “Uno” or some people tap a domino twice on the table to announce it.
This rule has a very important function, it announces to the other players that you are down to one tile, so they should plan their strategy accordingly.
They should play a double so it forces the player with one tile to draw another tile (providing they don’t have this tile in their hand) and/ or get rid of high points fast.
The reason this rule creates so many arguments is that people don’t normally like to penalize their friends.
We are clarifying the official rule but it’s up to your group to enforce it and most importantly to have fun !
September 6th, 2011
- Clean Dominoes
How Do I Clean My Dominoes?
Dominoes pick up dirt from table surfaces, people’s hands, and food .Over time, dominoes become dirty and discolored because of the natural of the tile.
If it is coming form the table top, we recommend using a table cloth or large felt cloth.
A soft table cloth makes for a quieter game and can make it easier to move the dominoes.
Our customers have suggested the following domino cleaning remedies:
- Clean with a clean cloth and baking powder
- Clean with rubbing alcohol
- Get a large bowl, fill with warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
With a clean sponge, rub dominoes in water trying to take off the residue.
Transfer to a colander. Run water through dominoes to take off any sticky dish soap residue.
Dry with paper towel or old rag.
Let us know what works for you.
August 18th, 2011
There are several strategies for opening in Mexican Train dominoes. If you have only one matching domino for the opening color, then there isn’t any decision.
At all times in Mexican Train dominoes, you must play a move if you can. This means you can never stall and hold a move. If you have one opening tile and it doesn’t have a match in your hand, then you might want to start the free-standing Mexican train. The reason for this play is that your hand is basically dead, if you can’t match anything. If you play the tile in the free-standing train, you can then play off of this train and get rid of tiles.
Of course, if you are neck in neck with another player and you don’t want them to have the chance to play any tiles on this train, you would rethink this strategy. We have had several games where the person who never played on their own hand and won the game.
Please feel free to comment and add your thoughts.
August 15th, 2011
I'm here to settle the score
There is no other topic that gets as many questions than answering a double.
Here’s the rules that we like but by no means does this mean this is the OFFICIAL RULES.
Remember, whoever is hosting train gets the final say since they are serving the drinks.
Q1 -WE PLAY AT OUR HOME RULES. IF WE ARE WRONG, WE NEED GUIDEANCE…PLEASE HELP.
OUR PLAY IS THAT WE CAN OPEN (1ST MOVE) AS MUCH OR LITTLE OF OUR TRAIN AS WE LIKE. IF WE (YOU AND I) PLAY THE SAME GAME, HERE IS MY QUESTION: PLAYER 1 OPEN 2 TILES THE SECOND IS A DOUBLE AND HE CANNOT SATISFY IT. PLAYER 2 CANNOT SATISFY IT. PLAYER 3 HOWEVER CAN SATISFY, AND DOES. QUESTION, WAS PLAYER 1 SUPPOSED TO TAKE ANOTHER TILE IMMEDIATELY, OR DOES HE GET AWAY WITHOUT TAKING THE PENALTY TILE?
A1-When Player #1 can’t play on the double, they PICK A TILE. If by chance they pick a tile that satisfies the double (we call it a Golden Tile) then they put it down immediately. The play then proceeds to the next player until the double is satisfied (with one, three or five tiles)
Q1- Can I go out on a double if I don’t have a tile to answer it?
A1- This question was the source of great family conflict in the mild-mannered Schuff household. They actually broke out the rules, found a name on the instructions and called Giselle in Palm Springs ! Giselle states firmly that you must answer a double to go out.
This changes the strategy a great deal since you should try to hold a tile that coordinates with the double. OR be sure to play a double earlier if it doesn’t match anything in your hand, so you can go out. OR if it’s a low double, hang onto it to the end because it will be low points in your hand.
Send us your thoughts. We have found that mexican train players aren’t shy !
July 19th, 2011
We discovered Mexican Train on a family trip. As we learned more and more about the game and played it across the country, we couldn’t believe how differently everyone plays the game. Most importantly, everyone LOVES Mexican Train and we realized there wasn’t a central place to find all of the different domino sets and games. It’s one of the few games that is always different, and can be played by grandparents and grandkids.
We started a website with a wish and found it wasn’t as easy as we thought … Buying domino games from manufacturers who sell millions of games was quite the challenge. We found there were some definite needs in the Mexican train market, most specifically, to buy American products. We haven’t found a domino set made in America but we now make domino wood racks and scorepads in the US.
Thanks to everyone who helped make our first year so great.
June 17th, 2011
This summer is hopping with Mexican Train Fun new people. Every day we have the pleasure of hearing from someone who just learned the game.
The most common comment is that they normally don’t like games but they love Mexican train dominoes. It is surprising that a simple domino game can be so engaging, bonding, simple and hard at the same time.
We are happy to share all of your stores. Happy Playing !
June 17th, 2011