Rails to Freedom
A game inspired by getting home from the Washington Conference, by Andy Grainger
Provisional title Rails to Freedom from the Jean-Paul Sartre Novel
A Two Player Game between A Megagamer and TFL (Transport for London) player. Or it could be played solo with the TFL cards being laid randomly.
This game is inspired by my real journey home from Washington Conference on Saturday 6th November 2021. Although I caught my train successfully I only did so because we left the Anerley Arms earlier than I expected and I had nearly two hours to get to St Pancras.
The game could be played on a track or a Snakes & Ladders board. The track starts at the Anerley Arms and finishes at the Train Station. The number of spaces on the track might be, say, one space for every ten minutes you have allowed for your journey.
Unlike my journey the game is very quick – only ten or fifteen minutes.
The Megagamer (tries to) move one space per turn and there are as many turns as spaces.
Each space on the track has a TFL card laid faced down. Each card represents a hurdle placed by TFL to hinder the Megagamer in his / her journey.
The Megagamer is equipped with a d6 and a d10 and a number of cards depending on age and number of megagames played (and therefore returned from). As I have attended 80 (now 81) megagames and lived in London for a total of twenty two years I could consider giving myself:
Eight Megagame Veteran (MV) cards
Two London Veteran (LV) cards
Vault the Electronic Gates (VG) card – only one card and only available to fitter Megagamers i.e. those who have attended 20 or fewer megagames
All cards are discarded once played.
These are the approximate cards played by TFL:
- Stay for extra pint in Anerley Arms – Lose one turn. Can be defeated by MV card.
- Unannounced screw-up at Anerley Station no trains – Lose one turn working out new route. Can be defeated by MV or LV card.
- Travelcard does not work in electronic gate at Crystal Palace – roll 1d6 1-3 Helpful TFL staff no delay, 4-6 Unhelpful TFL staff, Lose one Turn. Or play VG card. Roll 1d10: 0 = Apprehended by TFL staff = Game Over
- Unannounced platform change at Crystal Palace – Lose one turn waiting for next train. Can be defeated by LV card. If successful Roll 1d10 for potential heart attack running for train 0 = Game Over
- Reach Victoria but TFL have blocked the usual gates – Lose one Turn.
- One way system at Victoria – Lose one Turn. Can be defeated by LV or MV card
- Travelcard does not work in electronic gate at Victoria – roll 1d6 1-3 Helpful TFL staff no delay, 4-6 Unhelpful TFL staff, Lose one Turn. Or play VG card. Roll 1d10: 9 or 0 Apprehended by TFL staff = Game Over
- Faster than usual Tube / Rail journey – Move another space.
- Travelcard does not work in electronic gate at St Pancras– roll 1d6 1-3 Helpful TFL staff no delay, 4-6 Unhelpful TFL staff, Lose one Turn. Or play VG card. Roll 1d10: 9 or 0 Apprehended by TFL staff = Game Over
- Endless walk along interchange at rail station – Lose one turn. Can be defeated by MV or LV card.
- Passage blocked by drunken football fans or hen parties – Lose one turn.
- Passage blocked by theatre / opera goers – Lose one turn – Can be defeated by LV card (polite shoving).
- Travelcard does not work in electronic gate at St Pancras Rail Station – roll 1d6 1-3 Helpful TFL staff no delay, 4-6 Unhelpful TFL staff, Lose one Turn. VG card not playable due to numbers of security staff.
- Reach platform but two trains on the same platform – roll 4,5,6 on a d6 to board the correct train. Can be defeated by LV or MV card.
TFL played all these cards during my journey. I have not included cards for routine lack of announcements or no / unhelpful signage as these would just be repetitive.
Whilst I did not award myself a Vault the Electronic Gates (VG) card I did see someone else play it successfully. I had lucky die rolls with TFL Staff but reckon I used up all of my LV and MV cards.