Games to Play With Dominoes

Updated February 21, 2017

Dominoes have been around since the days of King Tut. The game was popular enough in 1350BC that he was buried with a set, presumably so he could play it in the afterlife. Since that time, variations in rules and game play have evolved almost nonstop to the present day. Even the number of dominoes in a set varies based on whether the set goes up to double sixes, double nines, double 12s, double 15s or double 18s.

Mexican Train

Mexican Train dominoes is one of the newer variants of the game, developed in North America. The original game was played with a set of double-12 dominoes and pennies. As the game grew in popularity, sets were sold that included different colour plastic trains.

The game begins with a double-12 domino being played. Each player must then start his own train line off that double-12. Players can play off only their train until a "Mexican train" is started that is available for everyone to play on. Also, if a player cannot play on either her line or the train, then her train becomes open for others to play on. The round ends when you are able to get rid of all your tiles. Everyone else then scores however many points are in their hand -- one point per pip on the dominoes. The next round continues with the next lowest double and continues for 13 rounds. Mexican Train supports a large number of players, contributing to its success as a party game.


Matador, also known as Russian Dominoes, is played with a double-six set. Rather than matching like numbers to like numbers, each player must connect tiles to form sums of seven. Certain tiles count as wild tiles and can be connected to any tile at any place. The wild tiles are those who add up to seven -- 1-6, 2-5, 3-4 -- and the "matador" which is 0-0. This game supports two to four players.


Forty-two, also known as Texas 42, is more of a card game than a traditional domino game, but it is played with the tile set. While the game supports two to seven players, the standard game is for four players playing as partners. Like other card games, it involves bidding, trumps and taking of points. Trump suits are numbers, and bidding begins with the person who holds the 0-1 tile. Each player draws seven dominoes to begin, and there is no bone yard. The object is to take enough tricks to score your bid -- or to set the players who won the bid by preventing them from scoring. Rounds continue until one team scores 250 points.

Chicken Foot

Chicken Foot dominoes, also known as Chickie and Chicken Dominoes, belongs to the Mexican Train family of dominoes. The game begins with the highest double in the set being played. Each round then begins with the next lowest double being played. Players must play tiles on all four sides of the double before play can continue. Whenever a double is played, the player calls "Chickie" and the number of the double. This starts a chicken foot, and play cannot continue until three matching dominoes have been played on the chicken foot. Play then continues off all three lines of the chicken foot. This game can be played with two to eight players using any of the standard domino sets.


Muggins is a variety of dominoes belonging to the "point" family. It is a version played mostly in Europe, with the greatest popularity being in England. The object is to play dominoes that not only match the connecting tile but cause all of the open ends to add up to multiples of five. Players score only when the tiles add up to a multiple of five. If a player fails to score her own points, another player can call "Muggins" and score the points that the other person played. Muggins is typically played with two to four players and uses a double-six set of dominoes, though larger sets can also be used. Cribbage boards are often used for score keeping.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

As a professional writer since 1985, Bridgette Redman's career has included journalism, educational writing, book authoring and training. She's worked for daily newspapers, an educational publisher, websites, nonprofit associations and individuals. She is the author of two blogs, reviews live theater and has a weekly column in the "Lansing State Journal." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University.