42 - Thirty+ Years of Reflection
(42 is a four-player card-like game with bidding and trumps, played with domino tiles)

I learned to play 42 more than 30 years ago and launched my first 42 web page in February 1997 (synopis). Since then, after URL changes, server upgrades and numerous document additions, Texas42.net emerged as my flagship web site. In my view, it has most of the features needed for learning about the game.

The site is non-commercial and is not advertised. It's here for folks who want to learn (or are curious about) the game and related information. (Experienced players also visit the site.) Word-of-mouth, Google, and links at other web sites bring most of the traffic to my 42 site.

Most players learned about or learned how to play 42 from family members. Most players reside in Texas or are former residents of Texas (polls), or learned to play from Texans. The game was born in Texas and became a Texas tradition. The Texas legislature recently designated it as the State Domino Game of Texas. This action will certainly broaden interest in the game and bring more visitors to my site.

Participations in dialogs with other 42 players indicate many have religious backgrounds (mostly Christian) and openly have conservative leanings (mostly Republican). They love the game and enjoy the fellowship of other players. Social players and tournament players alike are a special breed of people.

There have been some noteworthy advances in the 42 community since 1997, thanks to the internet and the efforts of a lot of 42 enthusiasts. Dennis Roberson published his book, Winning 42, and the National 42 Players Association (N42PA) was established. Curtis Cameron developed the "Win42" software for downloading and playing 42 online with others, and 42online.com, another online playing site, was launched.

Memberships in 42 clubs became more popular, and hostings of new 42 tournaments in Texas and New Mexico became annual events. Apple mobile devices, e.g., the iPhone and iPad, now have apps available for playing the game, and more new applications are in the works.

So, where will 42 go from here? Will younger folks latch onto the game and keep it going for future generations, or will it become an obscure activity like some other older games? (I suspect the internet will continue to keep worldwide interest in the game for years to come.) Time will tell.

I've pretty much run out of things to add to this site, and I now spend time mostly maintaining existing documents to keep them current, e.g., removing dead links and posting new information from other 42 players. I'm open to suggestions for any new documents or surveys.

Paul Proft, 17 August 2012
www.texas42.net,   email
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11 July 2016 - 12 Jan 2018 Addendum(s) with revisions:

        After years of studying tournament activities and receiving feedback from tournament players, I've come to the conclusion that some advanced tournament players definitely have an advantage over traditional players who are not privy to their cultural bidding conventions and indicating methods.
        Rules for sanctioned tournaments are not always specific when it comes to bidding conventions and indicating. "Talking across the table" and "verbal statements" are presumed to include bids and subtle indications that communicate information between partners, but the catchall phrases are often subject to individual interpretation.
        Traditional players might suspect private or culturally learned tactics between their opponents, but few challenge them because some rules are just too difficult to enforce. Trying to prove an infraction would be disruptive and result in inconsistent judgements.
        There is a variety of "creative" and "cultural" bidding and indicating practices that have become indigenous to the game of 42. They contribute to its mystique when players from different locations and cultures come together to compete.
        Apparently no additional definitive rule changes are forthcoming to address them. This makes it necessary for some traditional players to become knowledgeable of and apply perceived acceptable non-traditional bidding conventions and indicating methods in their games if they wish to be more competitive in formal tournaments.
        Over the years, I have learned that the most important aspect in 42 is fun and fellowship. In formal tournaments, that seems to be as important as winning, even when "creative" opponents indulge in questionable but seemingly acceptable tactics to compete for trophies and cash prizes. Discussions about fair play are often avoided so as not to detract from having fun and enjoying the fellowship of other passionate 42 players.
        What is "acceptable" is subject to individual judgement. Liberal interpretations seem to have the edge in tournament competition. More on this topic can be found here.

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