OBJECTIVE: Be the player with the lowest score at the end of the game

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 8 players



AUDIENCE: Kids to adults


Chicken foot is a domino placement game that is similar to Mexican Train.  Chicken Foot adds a little spice by requiring three dominoes to be played on any double before any other space can be played.  The placement of the three dominoes creates a formation reminiscent of an old hen’s hock.


Begin by placing the entire set of double nine dominoes face down in the center of the table.  Mix them up and begin going around the table taking turns to draw one domino at a time.  The first person to find the double nine domino goes first.  

Place the double nine to the side and reshuffle the dominoes in the center of the playing space.  Each player will now draw their starting dominoes.  Here are the suggested starting tile amounts:

2Draw 21
3Draw 14
4Draw 11
5Draw 8
6Draw 7
7Draw 6
8Draw 5

Once all of the players have the correct amount of dominoes, move the remaining dominoes to the side.  This is called the chicken yard, and it is used as a draw pile during the game.

Place the double nine tile in the center of the playing space.  Each round starts with the next double.  For example, the next round will start with the double eight, then the double seven, and so on.  Each round begins with the first player who found the appropriate double taking their turn.


On each player’s first turn, they must be able to match the starting double.  If they are unable to match, they draw from the chicken yard.  If that domino matches, it must be played.  If it does not match, that player passes.  The next player repeats the process.  This continues until there is at least one train per player at the table.  

Example: During a four player game, player one places a domino onto the double nine starting the first train.  Player two is unable to play, so they draw a domino.  It does not match the double nine, and they pass.  Player three is able to match the double nine, so they start the second train.  Player four is unable to play, draws a matching domino, and starts the third train.  Player one is able to match the double nine, and they begin the fourth train.  Now every player at the table may play on any train that they wish. 

Depending on preference, up to eight trains can be required before moving on.  For example, a four player game can require 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 trains to be started before play continues. Adding more trains to the starting double will provide more possible plays in the future essentially making the game easier.    

Once all of the trains have been started,  each player will play one domino at a time on any train they wish.  The domino they play must have a matching end in order to connect with another domino. 

If a player cannot play a tile, they must draw one from the chicken yard.  If that domino can be played, that player must place it.  If the domino drawn is unable to be played, that player passes.

Doubles are always placed perpindicularly.  When a double is played, there must be three dominoes added to it in order to create a chicken foot.  Dominoes may not be placed anywhere else until the chicken foot is created.

Play like this continues until the round is over.

There are two ways to end a round.  First, if a player plays all of their dominoes, the round is over.  Second, if no one at the table is able to play a domino, the round is over.  This could happen once the chicken yard has been depleted.  In a two player game, the last two dominoes are left in the chicken yard.  In a game with three or more players, the last single domino is left in the chicken yard.

The next round begins with the subsequent double.  The final round is played with the double zero.  The player with the lowest total score at the end of the final round wins the game.  


If a player is able to play all of their dominoes, they earn zero points.  The rest of the players earn points equal to the total value of all their dominoes.

If the game becomes blocked, and no one was able to play all their dominoes, all players add up their total domino value.  The player with the lowest score wins the round.  

Continue to add each round’s total to your score.  The player with the lowest score at the end of the final round wins the game.

An optional rule is to make the double zero worth 50 points. 

Mark Ball
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