Wednesday, 3 August 2016

#SchoolHolidays Mind The Gap! A Home Made Board Game of The #London Underground @ltmuseum

Daily Constitutional editor Adam writes…

I'd like to begin this post by acknowledging that it is probably in breach of more copyrights than I can count. I'm proceeding with it nevertheless in the hope that neither myself or my nine-year-old daughter will be dragged off to prison because we are, a) Not hoping to exploit/breach these copyrights for personal financial gain and, b) We have no malice in our hearts and were merely amusing ourselves on a rainy Summer afternoon in London! 

So here we go…

Yesterday was one of those Summer days in London when the balmy sky… just won't stop crying

"Shall we play a board game?" I asked my nine-year-old daughter Isobella as the heavens opened. 

The thought of a long afternoon/evening/night/morning/afternoon, etc, etc, playing an epic game of Double Board Monopoly* greatly lifted the gloom of the rainy weather. (*I'll blog about Double Board Monopoly another day: it's the work of the very devil and once you've tried it, you'll never want to go back to the standard game again.)

"Shall we play a board game?"

"No," she replied, decisively, "let's MAKE a board game."

We had been chatting on-and-off about it for a couple of years now: the idea of a board game that raced around the London Underground map. We'd bought a map from the London Transport Museum shop and some mounting board from an art shop. We'd come up with a few ideas for cards, inspired by our beloved Monopoly, but that was as far as we'd got. Until yesterday.

The combination of the rainy afternoon and a visit last week to the Transport Museum in Covent Garden had fired our imaginations again. 

First step was to make the board.

We stuck the tube map to the mounting board (we're going to tape down the edges to give the game a longer lifespan, we don't want it to peel and tear)…

Then Isobella designed a logo to cover up the serial number bit on the mounting board. She chose the name Mind The Gap

… and while she was doing that, I typed and printed the game cards – Destination, Change & Gamble! – on medium-weight card using the closest font to Johnston (the Tube font) that I could find, which was Gill Sans…

Then we cut out the cards so that they looked like this…

Next, Isobella marked the spot on the board where the cards are placed…

During gameplay it looks like this…

As we went along with the making, we drew up some rules:

To begin, place your token at East Finchley on the Northern Line (our home station, but you can choose your own local station if you make your own version)…

(The token & die were borrowed from other board games)

Throw a six to start then draw a Destination Card to determine the station where your journey will end…

Throw again and move your token the number of spaces shown on the die.

If you land on an interchange station, draw a Change Card and follow the instruction written on it (e.g Go Back 3 Stops, Stay On This Line, etc)…

If your Change Card moves you forward/backward to another interchange you do NOT draw another Change Card, your turn ends and the next player rolls the die.

If your Change Card instructs you to change lines…

… you should do so on your next turn. If multiple lines are available you must announce which line you are changing to. We worked out that finer detail after a bit of an argument at Embankment with a move on the District and Circle lines. But we're friends again now.

If you need to change lines, you have to do so at an interchange station. You can interrupt your turn to stop at an interchange station, e.g if you throw a five but reach an interchange station within three moves, you can choose to forfeit your two additional moves. If you choose to do so, your turn ends. You cannot change onto another line without stopping at an interchange station unless instructed to do so by a card.

If you throw a 2 or a 5, draw a Gamble! card and follow the instructions. Here are a few examples…

"You fell off the platform! Go To The Whittington Hospital at Archway" (Seriously, kids: Mind The Gap. Really.)

"You have tickets to see Adele at the Olympic Stadium" (Ergo, advance to West Ham. Isobella is a big Adele fan)
"You have lost your teddy Go to Lost Propety (sic) office in Baker Street"

Other faves include "You have tickets to see Spurs - go to Seven Sisters" (Isobella is a Spurs fan); "Tube Strike – Go Home" (i.e back to the beginning).

My favourite Gamble! card of all is: "You spill your drink on the passenger [player] to your right. Miss a go. Also the passenger [player] to your right has to go home to change clothes." Like all the best board games, it's harsh.

The winner is the player who reaches their destination first.

We're still ironing out a few kinks, but it was a blast making it.

If you decide to make your own version at home (ooh! I feel like a Blue Peter presenter!) then do drop me a line and a pic!


P.S. I really must point out that there is a London Board Game already in existence that features the tube map (we didn't copy it!). It would simply be bad manners not to point it out.

Besides, it looks really good! (I'll be asking Santa to bring it for me – last year he brought me Scotland Yard, about which I'll blog another day.)

You can buy the real version of The London Board Game from the London Transport Museum Shop by clicking HERE.

The London Board Game is made by Ideal Games and their website is here:

The Transport Museum in Covent Garden is free for kids accompanied by adults. An adult ticket is £17 and is valid for a year. Further savings can be made by buying tickets online. Visit the website here:

(For an earlier post on board games, click HERE.)

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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