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The London Game: rules for the board game based on the London Underground

Copyright: Colin Smith. Licensed for reuse: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 .

Copyright: Colin Smith. Licensed for reuse: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 .

Concept of The London Game

The classic board game, The London Game, is also known as The London Underground Game and it is based on a virtual journey around the London Tube. You need to find a strategy to get to certain places as fast as possible and, if possible, at the same time to prevent your rivals from getting to their destinations.

The game board shows the now iconic diagrammatic map of the London Underground . This was originally designed by Harry Beck in 1931. It does not attempt to show the actual physical location of the Tube stations. Instead, a simplified diagram of vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines is used to show the relative positions of the stations, making it possible to work out how to get from one station to another

Rules of The London Game

The basic rules of The London Game are very simple. Between 2 and 6 players can play at one time.

Each player is represented by a coloured playing piece and receives six Souvenir Cards. These bear the illustrations of some of the main sights of London, with a brief description and the name of the nearest Underground station.

Each player has to start at a British Rail main line station, for example Waterloo or Paddington, and plan a route using the Tube to visit all six places shown on his or her Souvenir Cards and then return to the starting point. As with most board games, moves are determined by throwing dice.

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The Souvenir Cards must not be shown to other players, but only laid down face up as each target destination is reached. This is because part of the game, involves trying to frustrate your opponents' travel plans. Right at the start, each player is able to close two stations. The idea is to close the stations you think will make the journeys of other players more difficult, while not affecting your journey.

To change from one Tube line to another, you have reach a station where the two lines cross. When you do change lines, you have to draw a Hazard Card. The card may either help or hinder you or one of your opponents. For example, a Hazard Card might give you the power to send someone to a station in a far-off part of London or allow you to close another station, or it might force you to go way off your planned route or to miss a go.

Players also receive some small purple counters, which they can use to close a station as they leave it, again after deciding which closures would be most harmful to other players. In order to open a station, a player has to roll a 6 or manage to get a “Re-open station” Hazard Card.

The London Game is a game for all

 As well as being a fun board game to play, The London Game is a useful tool for anyone planning to visit London. It highlights a number of famous sights and attractions in London and gives a brief description of each one accompanied by a colourful illustration. For those who have already visited London, playing The London Game will serve as a souvenir of their visit.

London residents and anyone else with a good knowledge of the London Underground can invent numerous personalised variants of the game rules to make the challenges even greater.

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