Designer: Sebastian Bleasdale
You only need to play one game…
Not always but sometimes, you play a game once and afterwards it is the only thing you want to talk about, it’s the only thing you want to shout to the world. This is how I felt after playing “On The Underground” (OTU) at the UK Games Expo (UKGE) 2019. LudiCreations (Ludi) demo’d it at the show, with its alluring art box design which would encourage passers-by to take a chance on it and sit down to try out a board game that has similar tropes to Ticket to Ride and Through The Desert.
To be honest, OTU was not on my radar as a game I wanted to own or even play before driving up to Birmingham. What helped it gain a spot on my “must seek out” list, was the hitchhiker I had collected on my journey towards the UKGE. A man called Paul Grogan* of Gaming Rules! He was hired by the publisher to work on the rulebook for the game, along with a couple of instructional videos. At first, he believed it would be quite a light family game and wouldn’t be a game that his normal group would play (usually prefering heavier games).
And my interest levels for it had intensified.
And my interest levels for it had intensified.
OTU was originally released back in 2006 by Sebastian Bleasdale and published by JKLM and then Rio Grande Games. However, this was only printed in a small number and never saw another print afterwards. It did
So what is it I like about this reincarnated classic?
So what is it I like about this reincarnated classic? It has
The aim of the game is to score more points than your opponents, you gain points in many different ways: when you lay tracks down and you connect to national rail station (above ground stations) you will receive 1 point, if you link 2 locations of the same symbol together you receive 3 points and if you create a loop using your tracks you get a point for every station inside it. You will also gain points each time the Passenger uses your line to get from one destination to another.
The Passenger? Yes this a pawn that wants to move around London in the most awkward way possible, moving from one side of London to the other, only to travel back to a location he has passed many times before. I mock the poor sod for not purchasing a map of the capital before heading out on his adventures! But this is me at the UKGE every year! I never get a hall map, I have never planned a conservative efficient route around the maze of stalls and demo games, I just wonder around like a lost child in a toy shop in awe of all the new shiny cardboard on offer. Only to remember that I had an appointment at the Ludi stand to play a new game they are bringing out and I am in the wrong hall altogether, right in the middle of a deep conversation about how difficult it is to find the stuff you want to see.
However, it is not the passenger’s fault, his problem with moving around the Capital like a ball in a pinball machine is because of these cards. There is a deck cards, one for each station on the board, split into 2 colours. Yellow stations are express locations and white are standard, four cards are revealed at the beginning of the game. The difference is that the passenger will go to the nearest express station before going to the nearest standard station. This passenger, feels to me more like an unlucky FedEx delivery driver that has crashed the company van one too many times and is having to use whatever transport is available to him. Or maybe he is smart, believing it is quicker to use public transport rather than having to remember to pay the congestion charge. Out of the four cards drawn the passenger will go to one or two stations on these cards, these are then discarded and replaced by new cards, this also ends the game when all the cards have been used.
Inclusion and Diversity
Ludi has introduced many new alterations to this edition and is working hard with the designer to bring his game up to modern standards. They have made a few
Right at the start of this review, I confirmed that I liked this game, it became my
It shares similar tropes to many games I like, where you always have less actions than you want to complete your plans and you sit back praying that your opponents don’t ruin your plans by placing tracks where you were going to. It’s the sort of game of placing a piece of wood on a board to score yourself points or just to screw over your opponents.
I played with a couple from London and once we were told how to play we were off and out for blood. We had a blast, laughing and joking how we were trying to get the passenger to use our lines and not others. Plus, there was the use of the modern gaming proverb “and here comes the dick move!”, which I believe entered the game around about round 4 or 5. And in my book, makes this a contender for my top 10 games.
The Dick Move
The only tricky part to this game is when you have a lot of track on the board you have to work out the shortest route for the passenger to travel, which might cause arguments between players but at the end of the
I hope, when this game launches on Kickstarter it is a big hit, for me, this is a day one backing. And I know that this is the sort of game my wife (Claire) will love. It might bump her all-time favourite (Ticket to Ride) out of its top spot. When talking to the publisher himself there is already mentions of what expansions that could bring in other underground train systems, maybe a hint at a New York City and Paris version… But there are many more subways and tubes advantage of, i.e. Boston, Shanghai, Seoul…*** The list is endless and with little added rules or add-ons that could bring new, interesting and strategies. More or less how other board games have milked their fans over the years. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s all cross our fingers that this is hit on the crowdfunding format and arrives that the shops in a BIG way.
Click here to see the Kickstarter
***this is my hopes for the future of the game and not to the
- Written By Joel Wright
- Edited and checked by Joel Wright, Paul Grogan
- Photos By Joel Wright and others sourced from Boardgamegeek.com