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Customer Review

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war..., 16 Nov. 2013
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: The London Board Game (Toy)
I am presently 'looking forward'(?!) to Christmas With My Family, a collection of people who don't get on under ordinary circumstances, never mind an alcohol-fuelled festive occasion. I do have a certain sense of dread, there's no denying that. Although, of course, it was my bright idea to get everyone together in the first place. And not just together either, but together in a rented cottage miles from anywhere. Miles from the nearest hospital, miles from the nearest police station... I must have had one too many over the eight myself the day I came up with THAT one. It has the potential to get rather nasty, and in a big way. Hence, I have been trying to find enough activities to keep my guests entertained and to, hopefully, distract them from the fact that they'd doubtless much rather prefer to be murdering each other. Or me for that matter, for coming up with such a ridiculous idea in the first place.

'The London Board Game' only allows 2 - 6 players to enjoy a bit of a whiz around the Underground but it is a lot of fun, so that would at least be a start. Well, I say 'fun'... it is if you're winning - and, if you are, then you probably won't be for very long. Using competitive games to try to keep the peace between a whole collection of warring factions might sound a little crazy but, the way I figure it, if they're arguing about a board game they might just forget about all those other grievances that families everywhere seem to collect over the years. No? Oh well, that must just be mine then. Actually you know, that's a very good point. This can be a very competitive game, full of dirty tricks and abject deviousness. Playing this game might have the same sort of incendiary effect on my family as the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand had on Europe in 1914... .

The game is highly entertaining and, from my own experiences so far, it is suitable for ages 8 and up. The action revolves around the map of the London Underground, although a working knowledge of London is not required. Indeed, this game can probably teach even the most seasoned Travelcard veterans a thing or two about the place because all the cards in it contain brief little snippets of pertinent information relating to various locations around London. This makes this game educational, as well as fun. Well, I say 'fun'... it is if you're winning - and, if you are, then you probably won't be for very long.

Each player gets their own coloured tube carriage playing piece plus two coloured counters (more on them later). There are 'Hazard' cards, they're shuffled and placed face down on the board. There are 'Souvenir' cards, they're shuffled and six of them are dealt to each player. These equate to destinations on the board. Each player studies their cards, keeping them tightly to their chest in the process, before deciding where they want to start their journey from. Since the aim of the game is for each player to visit all six of their destinations and to then return to the station from where they began their journey, it makes sense to try to choose somewhere to start that is as convenient for the places on your six cards as possible. Every time you need to change lines you have to pick up a 'Hazard' card, which could potentially redirect you to anywhere on the board, so trying to plot a route in advance that does not require too many line changes is a jolly good idea. You'll still come a cropper, one way or the other, but it is a good start. Then it's 'Mind the doors' and you're off!

The 'Hazard' cards can be used for good or evil, depending on which ones you get. Some will cause you to miss a turn, some will give you more turns... some will send you to specific station, which may well mean a diversion to somewhere you would really rather not be. But, some will allow you to send your opponents round the houses instead. This makes for an extremely dynamic game although, strategy-wise, if you're doing better than all the other players it is highly likely they'll pick on you as the one to be delayed unnecessarily. From my own experiences, this can make the game last a very long time indeed. Mind you, it can be highly frustrating, especially when you're only one roll of a die away from winning the game and you find yourself kidnapped and dumped on the other side of London.

The system of 'closing' stations is rather complicated - well, it certainly was for me, at least to begin with. Essentially, at the start of the game, each player uses his two counters to 'close' two stations. This will stop anyone from travelling through them - including the person who closed them. There are various methods of opening them up again (including 'Hazard' cards) but, even then, another station must be closed in its place.

Ultimately, those 'Hazard' cards (together with the opening and closing of carefully selected stations) will determine whoever wins this game. Your opponents will be doing their best to try to shove you into the sidings and you will be doing the same to them. It's in the rules and everything!

It really is great fun. Well, I say 'fun'... it is if you're winning - and, if you are, then you probably won't be for very long!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Dec 2013 19:13:11 GMT
The most entertaining review I've read on Amazon. Enjoy the quality time with your family!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Dec 2013 02:17:56 GMT
Mr. Sneekly says:
Thank you so much for your lovely sentiments. I'm sort of dreading the approaching festivities but, at the same time, I am hopeful that the people who will be stuck in that situation with me will be good-humoured, considerate and not too over-enthusiastic in their attempts to try to take control of, what should be, a fairly pleasant way to pass the time. That's not asking for too much, surely?

Actually, that sounds like the same sort of optimism with which I approached my wedding night all those years ago... although that turned out to be an even more horrendous experience than this Christmas is shaping up to be!

My very best wishes (and Season's Greetings!) to you

Hal
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