Ah, the London Game.
First released in 1972 – re-released in 1997 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the game.
I played “The London Game” for fun when I was younger – it was a lot like monopoly in some ways – which I loved at the time. Still don’t sniff at it!
How funny though that 30 years later and a game had become my life! Living in London and travelling around it I felt like I was playing this game day after day but it stopped becoming fun!
Let me explain. In the game you move from station to station on the roll of a die. You start at any of 5 major stations (like Kings Cross, or Victoria) and you have to work your way around 6 random stations, navigating around station closures, blockages, works on the line and station hazards. It is like trying to get anywhere in London by tube. Hilarious!
The game, made by Condor, has things like “Hazard cards” that you have to pick every time you change a tube line.
Each player is randomly dealt the stations they must travel to, and the board has many stations, you might have to go out as far as Wembley or Tooting Bec!
So the board game is played on the iconic tube map, which is quite fun – like a massive game of snakes and ladders, well, just snakes really. Different coloured, intersecting snakes.
Each move is one station up or down the line. There’s no fast way around. And players can draw a “blockage card” and block certain lines, stranding you potentially. So there is also a big aspect of strategy to it! In fact you might end up getting into scrapes with whoever you are playing with, because – as all Londoners will tell you – there is nothing as frustrating as spending 20 minutes getting to the station you need to change at, only to find it closed!
I remember that the hazard cards were quite peculiar sometimes! Just like in Monopoly where you win second prize in a beauty contest… but some said things like "You feel lonely. Join another player on the board" or "You forgot to buy gifts. Proceed to Oxford Circus at once to visit Hamleys".
It’s also a game that continues after the winner has won. Which can be good if you’re a kid. You get that sense of accomplishment at having travelled the board. Even though if your older brother goes off, you kind of want to go out and play with him instead!