- Paperback: 180 pages
- Publisher: Texas Tech University Press; 4th Edtion edition (September 22, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0896726592
- ISBN-13: 978-0896726598
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Winning 42: The Strategy and Lore of the National Game of Texas (Fourth Edition) Paperback – September 22, 2009
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"An excellent introduction... Just what's needed to show the younger generation there's more to it than following suit and calling trumps - to acquaint them with the sophistication of the game. - DON ST. CLAIR, State 42 Champion, 1997, 2007"
From the Inside Flap
Winner, San Antonio Conservation Society Award
There are two types of people in Texas: those who play 42 and those who need to learn. Winning 42 is written for both. A team game that no one tires of, 42 relies on neither luck nor memory. Skill and strategy separate the best from the rest.
Veterans who relish the logic of each domino played will find challenge in the advanced chapters and fascination in the history and lore. Many who've grown up with 42 are nonetheless surprised by its utterly Texan heritage, reaching back nearly a century and a quarter. Beginners will find easy instruction in all the basics, from bidding a hand or setting an opponent to the challenge of the 84 hand, and can advance at their own pace.
Replete with championship statistics and stories from veteran players and strategistsincluding many celebrities from astronauts to presidentsWinning 42 illumines a cherished tradition that links Texans from all walks of life.
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Let me hasten to add: a) I'm only a relative tyro in the game, b) I'm absolutely convinced that I can play much better having studied Roberson's book, c) Cameron's program uses robots that can track dominoes better than a Las Vegas card counter, and d) This is the most enjoyable book on a table game that I've ever read. Buy this book, study the hands, and practice, practice, practice!
Table of contents sections the material off, for easy location. The book does give the advanced player strategy tips.
We needed it for rules questions. The game of 42 is unique, because it is a game for all ages--- you can play very easy, with 6 yr olds.... or play very strategically with adults, which could require prediction of plays, counting what has been played. You can make it as challenging as the skill of the players. Certainly something for you to consider playing at your game night. You can find the explanation of how to play 42 online, for the beginning game rules.... if you want more later, then order this little book!
If you want to learn 42 strategy, you'll profit from this book. The tutorials are extremely well thought out, and the rhetoric is just about perfect. Writing on a strategy game requires some thought, and Dennis Roberson has used his noggin in the writing of Winning 42.
By the way, the book is a great companion text for practice with Curtis Cameron's computer program, Win42. I haven't had so much fun in a very long time. I'm still reading--and studying, because this is as much a great textbook as it is a collection of stories about the game and those who play it.
Enter "Winning 42" by Dennis Roberson. In "Winning 42", Mr. Roberson lays it all on the table. He begins with a brief introduction to the rules and terminology of the game. He then jumps into one of the most difficult aspects of the game, bidding, and handles it with an ease and clarity that belie the difficulty of the topic. If you master this 14 page chapter alone, your game will take a quantum leap. He then spends a chapter discussing basic strategies for playing out your dominoes once you have won the bid. He then devotes two chapters to helping your partner and setting the bidder. In these 45 pages (five chapters) Roberson gives you the essentials for becoming a solid 42 player who will seldom make a glaring mistake at a 42 table and who would be a respectable 4th among a table of veterans.
These five chapters also demonstrate one of the fantastic features of this book, namely that each chapter builds perfectly upon the preceding material and gives the reader information that will be immediately useful in 42. Reading this book in order, one could easily finish a chapter, put down Roberson's book, and be a better 42 player from that point on. Roberson's systematic approach to the basics of the game free one from the necessity to master the entire book before reaping it benefits and make its first five chapters alone easily worth the price.
The next six chapters cover several intermediate topics. Two of the most essential of these chapters teach one how to recognize and play an 84 hand, how to help your partner make an 84 bid, and how one sets an 84 hand. The other essential chapter teaches one how to recognize, bid, play, partner, and set "doubles as trumps" hands and "follow me" hands. Though the above numerous topics are presented in only three chapters, the topics are covered sufficiently to enable one to play confidently and correctly in these situations.
Chapter 12 covers "Advanced Bidding and Playing" and is what I consider the third major part of the book. The hands and play discussed in this chapter are illustrative of key points Mr. Roberson feels are critically important. Because these hands are illustrative, they do not appear to be typical hands and so may not be terribly engaging to the average 42 player. But if you have grasped the material of the preceding 11 chapters, you will easily understand the importance of chapter 12. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, in chapter 12, Mr. Roberson demonstrates his masterful ability at 42 analysis. Anyone who has observed veteran 42 players analyze hands after they are played will know that analysis is one of the cardinal components of 42 culture.
Chapter 13 covers the "optional" topics of nel-o, sevens, and plunge. This material may help one depending on who he finds himself in a game with. Mr. Roberson is not fond of these variations, so he presents them in a cursory manner. I don't think this is a weakness of the book, however, because none of these variations are found in any official or tournament rules of the game.
Chapters 14 and 15 provide one with a flavor of the game's culture. The reading in these chapters is pretty good, but I don't think Mr. Roberson has really captured the essence and pervasiveness of 42 culture that must have existed in certain parts of the state during the last century. Its true that 42 has mostly been a pass-time and is "just a game", but for many families in rural Texas, it must have been much more than that. I'm sure my family is not unique in that almost every person a generation older than me is an expert 42 player--as are their parents and grandparents. So 42 may not have been so much a pass-time for some families as it was an important cultural glue. I've seen family members who were at odds sit down at a 42 table for hours and play in perfect harmony with plentiful discussion and analysis. What other cultural expression could achieve this? But Mr. Roberson's book appears to be mainly about instruction and not history, so these chapters really have no bearing on its value as a work of literature, which is tremendous.
The last chapter of the book gives some critical statistics about the game. It would probably be helpful for one to memorize these numbers if he has a head for that sort of thing--but I don't think that memorizing these statistics is a sufficient substitute for the understanding and intuition one might gain from mastering the first 12 chapters of the book and plain-ol' 42 experience.
In summary, Winning 42 is not only a unique book in that it is the only one ever written about the game, but it is also a masterwork of instruction. I'm not sure what Mr. Roberson's profession is, but if he is not writing instructional books full time, it is likely that he has missed his calling.
Finally, if you play or are thinking of playing 42, read this book. I'm sure I can speak for any 42 player out there when I say that it is more fun to loose to good 42 players than it is to beat bad ones. That's the magic of 42!