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Friday, December 15, 2006

Interesting Christmas Gift

Re-build the London Underground Game

I'm sure many of you look at the problems we face on the Tube each day with over-running engineering works, broken escalators, delays, dust, broken lifts, dust and the general misery of the Northern Line and think to yourself "If only I could run the Tube, I'd do a far better job of it than TubeLines and Metronet ....."

Well now, thanks to Sebastian Bleasdale you can. He's created
On The Underground - "a board game about building the London Underground - the way it should have been built. Each player takes charge of a number of lines, building them to connect to key stations and to help the Passenger in his quest to visit the whole Underground system."

On the Underground On the Underground

The rules look pretty simple and don't seem to involve PPP or major advertising & PR campaigns or dealing with Ken Livingstone, although it might be quite fun to add these various wranglings to bring it more in touch with the real world. It would be nice to have the sorts of Risk cards that you get in a game of Monotony. "Your maintenance men are going on strike as it's almost Christmas, lose 3 points", "One of your contractors is the son of a terrorist, lose 4 points."

Instead the rules are as follows: "Build Track: Each turn a player builds four lengths of track on the board. The first length of any line can be built anywhere, but later lengths must extend the existing line from one of its ends. You may branch your track by paying branch tokens, which you collect by skipping track builds and by building to termini. You get points by building track to National Rail stations or termini, by linking connection stations or by building loops.

Move the Passenger: Then each player moves the Passenger to one or two destination stations. The Passenger is lazy, and chooses his route to minimise the distance that he has to walk, and the number of lines he has to use. For each line that he uses, the owner of that line gains a point. The visited destination cards are replaced, and it is the next player's turn.

When the deck of destination cards has been exhausted, the game ends, and the player who has gathered most points wins
."

From Board Game Geek's picture gallery

Here's what some reviewers of the game from Board Game Geek have said:

"I thought 'oh joy, yet another train game...'. However I was very taken with it. Everyone was engaged throughout (it played out in about 90 minutes), scoring was pretty close (though I was last in each game...no change there then), and there there are plenty of game and scoring options to deliver a decent amount of replay value. It's well produced and attractive, and will probably appeal to both my lighter and more gamey groups.."

"For anyone conversant with the "traditional" London Underground map, the end result of each game of OTU results in a wonderfully plausible "alternate universe" map but with all sorts of odd quirks (just like the real one.) And that makes it stand out from the usual "rail game" crowd."

Interestingly the rules are in English and German, implying that On The Underground might be going down a storm in Germany. It's £25 plus £3.75 post and package to buy. (Cheers to Neil for the heads up with this).

London Underground RugUnderground Rug (Thanks to Martin Ellwood for spotting this)

If you are looking for a Tube gift and have fairly large pockets you might want to shell out £749.99 for a designer rug. No, that's not a typo and is obviously for the person who has everything (well, everything but a London Underground designer rug). Although perhaps after several plays of "On the Underground" you might feel like you have a winning Tube system on your hands and can apply to be Chair of TubeLines, then I'm sure that almost 800 quid would seem like small change and you could carpet your mansion in designer rugs.


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