Melbourne Train Game
Russell Degnan

A misnomer if every there was one, as the game-board is too large to play on any train in Melbourne, and it takes longer to play than any trip in same. It is a heavily strategic game, popular amongst the especially "avant garde" in Melbourne's laneway bars.


Number of Players

Two, one using black Queens, the other red.


A Whole deck is used. The Queens are special cards and should be removed before play. Aces are high, above the King. Twos are wild.

The Table

Clear some space on a table

Place the Queens at either end, shuffle the pack, and deal cards, face up, in the pattern shown. If any twos are dealt, place them back into the pack.

For a faster game the board (and the number of Queens), can be reduced, by removing rows while retaining the diamond shape. It's not the same though.

The Deal

From the remaining cards, deal five cards to each player.
Place the rest in a Pick-up Pile.

The Play

Players take it in turns to move, each move consisting of three parts.

1. The Swap

A swap is optional.

A player may swap a single card pile as many times as they like within the one turn, provided the swapping rules are followed.

Rule 1: Card Piles must be swapped along the diagonal lines in the diagram above.

Rule 2: The pile being swapped must contain within it a card that is within one number (up or down) of a card within the pile being exchanged.

Rule 3: You may not swap your opponent's Queen unless it is to swap into the final position.

An example is shown. The JS-6S pile is swapped twice: 6S for 5H; JS for 10C.

2. The Discard

A player must discard from their hand if they are able to.

There are three types of discards:

1. Same Suit: A card may be played onto any Card Pile of the same suit as the card being played. That card is added to the pile and will generally increases the number of swapping options available to it.

2. Same Number: If a card of the same number, but different suit, is played then the existing pile is placed on the Discard Pile. That played card forms the basis for a new Card Pile.

3. Any Two: Twos are wild. If a two is played the entire Card Pile is placed in the players hand. The two is placed on the Discard Pile. A new card from the players hand must be played.

A player may not discard onto a Queen.

3. The Pick-Up

If the player has less than five cards in their hand, they must pick up from the Pick-Up pile. If the Pick-Up Pile is empty, the Discard Pile (after shuffling) becomes the Pick-Up Pile.

The Game

The object of the game is to move your Queens to the spaces opposite. This is done by swapping cards according to the swap rules detailed above.

Frivolous Pastimes 20th August, 2006 19:20:22   [#] 


Melbourne Train Game
My Melbourne Train Game involves watching the other passengers carefully to see if I can guess who is gay.

Then I ask them.

If I get 50% correct I consider it a win.

Try it some time.
john  21st August, 2006 00:49:17  

hey Russ...?
Should "2. Same Number: If a card of the same suit, but different number..." read "2. Same Number: If a card of the same number, but different suit..."?

Sounds like a cool game.
Hooch  23rd August, 2006 00:31:56  

Melbourne Train Game
Hooch... yes. thanks. fixed.

John, I don't actually take the train ever, it being a longer walk from my closest staton to home than from work or uni. But if I ever do...
Russ  23rd August, 2006 01:02:31