| Instructional Objective | Learners & Context | Object of Game | Game Materials |

| Time Required | Rules | Design Process | References |

Instructional Objective


The instructional objective of Pesky's Baja Blast game is to reinforce for players instruction and materials presented during Rubio's Baja Grill management training.

Learners & Context of Use


The game is designed to be used by manager trainees for Rubio's restaurants. The trainees currently receive four weeks of training at a designated training store in San Diego, CA. Additionally, they attend 2 four-hour seminars ("Shark" classes) where they review what they learn during in-store training plus other information deemed essential by the company. In the current "Shark" training classes, this information is reviewed through a game where trainees (typically 4 to 12 people) are divided into teams and the training coordinator fires questions at them. The first team to answer correctly receives points. The team team with the most points wins. Pesky's Baja Blast would replace this verbal game.

All trainees have to take a written test upon completion of their training and before they can work in their new stores. They must earn a score of 90% or better to pass. Trainees playing this game acquire and practice their knowledge of questions found on the test. Correct answers gives them pesos to buy food as they progress towards the Finish (exit the game as a manger). To win the game, they must be first to exit the game at the Finish door with one of each type of food item on their Food Tray.

The management trainees are diverse, but typically they are in their 20's to mid 30's. They represent all ethnic groups and are both male and female. All have high school diplomas and some have college experience. They all have restaurant or service backgrounds and many have worked for Rubio's as hourly employees. They can draw on their prior knowledge base and what they are learning during training to play this game.

The game can be used repeatedly throughout Shark Class training. Repeated playing of the game will serve to reinforce required information needed to pass their written tests and that will help players be sucessful managers in their new stores.

The trainees at the Shark classes are in different weeks of training and have different levels of experience with Rubios standards and specifications. Therefore, teams are grouped by the training coordinator to balance the team for knowledge of the content. This assures that one team will not have all first week trainees while the other team has all fourth week trainees.

Rubio's plans to open forty to fifty new restaurants next year and must hire and train managers to staff these and existing stores. This game facilitates efforts to prepare potential new managers to meet this pressing need.

Object of the Game


The object of the game is to answer Rubio's management related questions as you navigate the game board. Players, working in teams, receive pesos for each correct answer that they give, which can be used to purchase Rubio's food items (tacos, quesadillas, burritos, nachos and drinks.) These food items are place on each teams trays as the traverse the board. The first team to exit the board with a full tray, containing at least one of each food item, wins the game.

Game Materials


  • game board
  • die
  • player pieces
  • pesos
  • food items (tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, drinks)
  • cards-
    • FOH-- orange cards with questions pertaining to the front of the house.
    • BOH-- yellow cards with questions pertaining to the back of the house, or kitchen
    • Management--green cards with questions pertaining to management skills
  • a box to hold the food, pesos and player pieces

Time Required


The game is quickly and easily set-up. It is designed to be completed in 30 minutes to 1 hour, to accommodate time availability in the present Shark Class schedule.

The Rules

Pre-Game Prep


  1. The training coordinator, hereafter known as the "Head Taco", will:
    • select members for two teams - keeping a balance of newer trainees and ones about to complete the training
    • read the question cards to the teams
    • settle disputes
  2.  Players will designate a team leader who will be the one person that can answer questions.

The Game

The game is a race to be the first one to the Finish and out the door to a new management position. To exit the game, teams must have one of each kind of food on the Food Tray (taco, burrito, enchilada, nachos and a drink) The path that each team travels on from Start to Finish is made up of different colored circles and other "special circumstances" spaces. When a team lands on a green, orange or yellow circle, the Head Taco will pull a card of the same color and read the question. When a team answers correctly, they receive two pesos towards purchase of food for their tray. If they answer wrong, the other team gets a chance at the questions. The bandito squares and ole circles are "special circumstance" circles where teams give up $$ or food - or can receive $$ from the bank or steal a food item the opposing team.

Starting the Game

  1. The team that rolls the highest number on the die will go first
  2. Teams roll the die with each turn and take the appropriate number of moves.

Color Circles (question cards)

  • When players land on orange, green or yellow circles, they have the opportunity to answer a question on the approriate color card topic, read by the Head Taco.
  • Players will have 30 seconds to confer after each question is asked, then the leader will have to give an answer.
  • If a team answers a question wrong, the other team then has 30 more seconds to confer and give an answer.
  • Each correct answer will earn a team two pesos.
  • Each team accumulates pesos with correct answers. Pesos are used to buy Rubios food items. Each item costs five pesos. The items are: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, baja bowls and drinks.
  • Once a food item is purchased it is put on that teams "tray" which is located on the game board. A team may have as many items as they like, but they must have at least one of each item on their tray to exit the board and win the game.

Banditos and Ole spaces

Banditos come in two forms - money grubbing and hungry.


Teams forfeit 2 pesos to the opposing team when robbed by the "Gimme $" Bandito.


Teams forfeit one food item to the opposing team when robbed by the "Gimme Food" Bandito (the opposing team chooses which food item!!).


Ole spaces give teams the chance to collect money or food for their tray from the opposing team. Teams can either:

  • collect 4 pesos from the bank, to be used towards purchasing food, or
  • take one piece of food from the opposing team, to lessen their chance of leaving the game (the taking team chooses the food item, of course!)


  1. FOH (orange circles) When a team lands on a green circle they will have to answer a question pertaining to the front of the house (FOH). The questions will be related to cashier or expediter stations. A correct answer will earn a team two pesos.

    BOH circles-(yellow) When a team lands on a blue circle they will have to answer a question pertaining to the back of the house. The questions will be related to cook and prep recipes, priorities, and standards. A correct answer will earn a team two pesos.

    Management circles-(green) When a team lands on a yellow circle they will have to answer a question pertaining to management skills and standards.. A correct answer will earn a team two pesos.

    Bandito square- The Bandito squares (who is that Bandito?) come in two varieties. A bandito (Gimme $$) who robs a team of two pesos (which are given to the opposing team. A Bandito (Gimme Food) who gives one of the team's food items to the opposing team (opposing team choosing which food item)

    Ole circles-(pink) When a team lands on an Ole circle, they have received a "guest compliment" and they can either receive 4 peso's from the game bank or steal one food item of their choice, from the other team's Food Tray. (Use strategy here to foil your competitors progress.)


Design Process

The original idea of this project was to design a generic restaurant management game based on one previous restaurant from the content expert's background in the field. The game board was to be a "blueprint" of a restaurant, and the players (management trainees) traveled throughout the restaurant answering questions from different areas--the kitchen, dining room, bar, etc.

The final choice is based on the current employer of the content expert, who now works for Rubio's. Permission was obtained from a district supervisor and the training department to use Rubios material, and the company is interested in seeing the final result, possibly to be used as a training tool.

Background information was obtained from the designer who works for Rubios, the Rubio's Management Training Manual, and the Rubio's web site.

Designers obtained feedback on game design from Dr. Bernie Dodge and feedback on our game itself from fellow students in Ed Tec 670. The team wanted the game board to reflect Rubio's culture, therefore it was decided not to use the "blueprint" idea, as Rubios does not have as many components (i.e., no bar, host stand) as a full service restaurant. The players now follow a linear path that that gives them the opportunity to earn pesos to purchase food. The food items purchased and the Food Trays to hold, them reflect dining in a Rubio's. The Ole space reflect the company's use of an 800 number to collect complaints and positive feedback. Landing on an Ole space indicates the team has received a "guest compliment" and, consequently, the chance to collect 4 pesos from the bank or take food from the opposing team. The "bandito" spaces reflect the hectice and competitive nature of this industry. When a team lands on a "bandito" space, their competitors can steal a food item from their tray or 2 of their pesos.

Once created, it became apparent that some redesign would enhance the visibility of the game board. Future iterations would remove the background of a stylized Rubios restaurant, in favor of a solid color, making the path more easily discernable.

The Game Board



Books & Journals

  1. Rubio's Baja Grill Management Training Manual






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Last updated October xx 1999