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 The Rules of Mornington Crescent

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Posts : 6
Join date : 2010-09-06
Age : 72
Location : Mornington Crescent.

PostSubject: The Rules of Mornington Crescent   Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:04 am

When taking into account the sheer incomprehensible vastness of the various plays and strategies at ones disposal when engaging in "The Great Game", it goes without saying that a complete expose of "the rules" would be well beyond the scope of this one article.

As it is presumed that most who would have an interest in visiting this site will already have an erudite understanding of the rules of the game, we will not be focussing this article upon explaining the more elaborate concepts, variations and manoeuvres of Mornington Crescent in any great detail, as most will already be familiar with such intricacies, and will likely have access to such deeper study material themselves anyway.

As we appreciate that from time to time, there may be the occasional visitor who is interested in learning about Mornington Crescent for the first time, and being such an obscure pastime, we understand that such information may be hard to find when you don't know where to look; so we will mainly be setting our sights on briefly clarifying the object of the game for you, in as jargon free and easy to comprehend language as possible.

The Object of the Game:

Mornington Crescent is played (most of the time at least,) using the latest version of the London Underground Map.

It is a turn based game, the object of which is to reach the station "Mornington Crescent" before your opponents. As a result of which, it has often been surmised that there are in effect, only two basic rules to the game:

1). Get to Mornington Crescent.

2). Stop your opponents getting there first! (by any means possible)

Whilst in a most simplistic sense, that is true; the unfathomable depth and detail, the countless clauses, the myriad variations, the diverse rulesets for differing types of gameplay, all serve to render that "truth" effectively meaningless, if you do not know and understand the methods and madness by which you must do so.

Any attempt therefore at explaining "the rules" to a rank novice looking to "just start playing", is pretty much doomed to failure from the outset. Hence why most seasoned players highly recommend that beginners start out by just watching a few games between more experienced players before jumping in at the deep end, and likely drowning in a sea of mind boggling confusion.

By watching carefully for a while, and paying close attention to how games start out, and the courses they follow as they develop and unfold, it is reasonably easy to work out in essence what is happening.

Mornington Crescent is a game of unfathomable depth, yet at the same time, (if you're attentive,) you begin to pick up the underlying simplicity, running like a fine thread through the unbridled chaos.

It can take just a few minutes to pick up the gist (if you're switched on), yet an entire lifetime to fully master.

The "Basics" of Gameplay:

Mornington Crescent can be played both individually, and as part of a team. In each case, whilst there are of course a vast array of differences in playing styles between the two, there are certain basic formats which comprise the "essence" of the game, that are in effect whether playing singularly, or on a team.

We'll take a few moments to explore some of the more important ones that you'll need to know:

(Please Note: Except where otherwise indicated, it is assumed for the purpose of this tutorial, that we are speaking from the perspective of using the "IMCS National League-Standard Ratified Ruleset, with 2010 Amendments", as this is the usual method the Team game is played by for Official matches.)

Home Stations:

Everyone must start the game with one. Well, that's not entirely true, you can choose not to have one, but in certain circumstances, the consequences of doing so can be rather dire indeed! So trust me on this, and just have one.

There are exceptions depending upon the ruleset and variations you're playing with, but as a general rule, players begin the game by declaring their designated Home Station, and the station they will be starting from. This is often the same station, but apart from a few notable exceptions, it doesn't have to be.

Much depends upon the strategy you have chosen to employ for the game in question. If you've elected to go with an open, fluid style of play, it may better suit you to wait a few moves before declaring your Home Station, to see how the land lies. If on the other hand, you've decided upon any kind of fixed tactical ploy with specific intentions, then your Home Station will naturally play an important role in your carefully crafted battle plans, and you'll want to ensure that you claim it as yours from the start, as more than one player may not occupy the same Home Station.

Your Home Station cannot be situated at any station considered to be an interchange, and it may not be on the Northern (black) Line, for obvious reasons (unfair advantage)!

It should also go without saying, that Mornington Crescent is not permissible for a Home Station. Wink

The benefits of having a Home Station are numerous:

The most obvious one being that players without a Home Station run the risk of being forced to retire from the game, if circumstance conspires against them. If a player should find themselves in a situation where their LV has expired, they have used or lost all of their Tokens, and due to the dastardly deeds of their cunning opponents, have run out of legal moves; said player has no other option than to retire from the game. Whereas if said player had elected a Home Station, he can always make a legal move there when out of all other options; by playing his Home Ticket.

Another clear benefit of making use of a Home Station, is that any other players either passing through or landing upon your Station, must pay you a Silver Token (for "Right of Passage Tax"). If said player is not currently in possession of a Silver Token at that time, you may select any item of your choice from their Inventory or Ration Pack.

There are many other benefits and drawbacks to having a Home Station or not, but there is not sufficient need to go into them all in this basic overview.


You won't get far in the game without Tokens.

Along with LV (explained later in this guide), Inventory Items and Ration Packs, they are one of the most important aspects of the game. Players start with set amounts of various Tokens, and then use, lose, and collect more as they work their way through the game. Tokens are currency in the game, and their vast range of differing usages fall far beyond the scope of this guide.

Tokens come in 12 basic colours, that correspond to the 12 main line colours on the Underground Map, with the addition of White, Silver and Gold Tokens thrown into the mix for various purposes.



In Mornington Crescent, there are more rules, versions, variations, amendments, clauses, edicts, gambits, manoeuvres, strategies and tactics written down in manuals and rule books, than I could ever dare hope to speak to you of. Yet there is one, very important, hidden rule; that affects the entire game. It is colloquially referred to as "The Unwritten Rule", and discovering it, is the difference between going through the motions as an average, standard player; and starting down the road to Mastery.

The Unwritten Rule, is the secret Master Key, that unlocks a player's true potential in the game; the knowledge of which, binds all great Masters of the game together in unity and understanding. It is the invisible line, that decides whether or not you are part of the Inner Circle, or unknowingly outside of it. It is the difference between failure, and long term success and enjoyment.

But the key thing is, no-one can tell you what it is. It's something that you have to discover for yourself. It is a test of your discernment.

It's kind of like being "The One" in the film "The Matrix". As the Oracle said to Neo: "Being The One is just like being in love. No one can tell you you’re in love. You just know it."

And so it is with Enlightenment, in Mornington Crescent.

The Discerning Mornington Crescent player learns to "read the code", and comes to an innate understanding of The Unwritten Rule; and in so doing, becomes "Enlightened".

From the position of Enlightenment, Mastery comes much more easily. Of course, it still takes much dedication to become a true 'Great' in the game, but Enlightenment opens the doorway of understanding, and when you understand, learning to develop your abilities and Master the more intricate manoeuvres in the game becomes much more a process of creative expression, rather than mental toil.

(to be continued...)

Dr. Sebastian Carrington

(Southampton MCC Chairman)
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