World Series of Mornington Crescent

You can't drink on the Tube anymore, but this is the next best thing.

Good evening and welcome to the World Series of Mornington Crescent, a multi-round competition amongst the best players in the world, or at least the best players who signed up—namely, the usual four: Graeme, Barry, Tim and Willie. In our first round we'll start close to home with East End Rules, 6th edition. Only rail lines are in play, and please make sure to have enough money for an unannounced exit fare increase. Graeme, being in the first seat, has the first move.
All right, since we're playing East End Rules, the logical place to start is the East End, but since there isn't one in this city, I'll go to Aquarium.
I'll cross under the harbor and take the western approach. Maverick.
Hmmm...take the Green Line over the dam... beavers build dams... so instead I'll cross the Longfellow Bridge to Kendall/MIT.
Let's go back to the dam and move to Lechmere.
Sorry, that's not a valid move.
No? Tim was at Kendall...
According to our sources, that move isn't technically allowed.
Oh, I see. Tufts Medical Center, then.
Revere Beach.
Back across the harbor to Harvard.
Downtown Crossing... oh, that puts me in trouble, doesn't it?
It certainly does. You left open the diagonal crossing of the four central stations. Government Center!

This round may look like the last round, at least by the signage, but it'll soon be clear that you're in a whole other country. We'll be using Kamprad's Skip-Stop Variation No. 10. To assist you we've provided pictographic instruction sheets and allen keys. Willie, as the last game's winner, you have the first move.
Thank you, Humphrey. Well the first picture says I should start with the bit that goes in the middle...I think they mean T-Centralen, so I'll head there.
Okay, this gets nailed to the back of it, shunt the lateral and go to Fridhemsplan.
That's quite the cunning plan Fridhem had, but not as cunning as Odenplan!
[All groan]
Put in the dowels, then attach this screw thing... Hötorget.
Gamla stan.
Mariatorget. Pass the lingonberry sauce, would you?
Almost there. Now this shelf goes on top, taking us to Hornstull...where's this piece go?
Midsommarkransen and we have ourselves a dresser!

Moving along. This round will be played by the Linear Standard Version, with all trains running as if it were precisely 7 o'clock on a Thursday morning. Due to a wide load, numbered lines are out of bounds and note that service may have been altered by the sandstorm...or some sort of sandy storm. Tim?
(humming) go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem...well, I'll stay on a little past there and go to Inwood-207th Street.
I don't think that's how the song goes.
It's Thursday morning, so I can go all the way to the end of the line at Brighton Beach.
I don't like this map, none of the stations have good names. All these numbered streets, not one proper name. Like Ralph, that's a fine name there. Why couldn't they name a station Ralph?
They did. It's down there on the C.
Oh! Didn't see it there. Ralph Avenue it is!
Hm... Norwood-205th Street.
Jamaica-Van Wyck.
Roosevelt Island.
Are you going by the tram or the subway?
I have a choice? The tram, it's more scenic.
You're not allowed to take the tram.
The subway, then. Why did you ask in the first place?
Never mind, you're at Roosevelt Island and it's Graeme's turn.
Too bad numbered lines are out of bounds, the Five to Bowling Green would be a nice move here...
Bowling Green? Isn't that in Ohio, near Toledo?
No, Toledo is in Spain, nowhere near it.
My mistake.
Instead I'll go to Myrtle-Willoughby Avenues.
A few months ago we'd have to go much further for a victory condition, but since the storm cut off the A south of Howard Beach, I can short-circuit the round by taking a boat across Jamaica Bay and hopping on the H—
There's no H! I have the map right here and it doesn't show any H!
Your map also doesn't show South Ferry being closed, but if you try to take the One there you won't get past Rector Street. Now, I have a currently accurate map, which clearly shows that I can take the H to Beach 44th Street to win.
Let me see that... Wow, that does work. Impressive play, well done.

Welcome back. This game will be played by the traditional Rules of the 3rd Count of Burgundy, with all necessary modifications to bring it up to date with the last few centuries of advancements. Wine and cheese will be served after the round is finished.
Seeing how we are playing in France, I think it is only appropriate to begin at Malesherbes.
Appropriate? How is it appropriate to begin with a guillotined statesman?
He was very well liked. Quite popular there.
What about the whole chopping off his head incident?
Well sure, but other than the whole being decapitated situation, I'm sure he was quite a respectable fellow.
Will you stop your bickering already? It's my turn. I'm going to Temple.
Temple? I don't think any amount of time at the temple would have saved Malesherbes from the guillotine.
Enough with the guillotine. Let's go to Opéra.
Going to the opera in this city? Wow, that's creative...
If this game goes on much longer I'll stick my own head in a guillotine.
Ok, my turn. Gare de l'Est.
Aha! You have fallen for my trap! Saint-Germain-des-Prés!
Rats, I should have seen that coming. Now where can we get some croissants?

It appears our lovely scorekeeper Samantha hasn't been keeping a proper count of the points. For the record, we are not awarding any points in this series. The following round is to use the Watergate Crossover Rules, as amended by the 4th General Session. Players are reminded not to break into any office buildings unless they are completely sure that nobody is looking.
We've played here quite a bit, so let's go against the flow this time. Clarendon.
Let's see... You've left me quite a few choices. This move could have quite a big impact on the game. I might need some time to think and debate the possibilities...
Just go already, Tim!
Don't rush me! Like the Charge of the Light Brigade, this moment could determine the course of the entire game!
You do realize that battle was a catastrophic defeat for the Light Brigade.
Fine. Let's go with...Capital South!
Oh great, now it's my turn. I do really have tons of decisions here. I need to seriously weigh the pros and cons before proceeding. Plus, I can't forget about how my choice will affect my image. After all, image is everything here.
You realize you can't filibuster yourself out of moving.
Well, actually, I'm pretty sure that self-filibustering is a totally acceptable practice here.
Really? Well in that case, maybe I should take a bit more time to think. Can I form a committee?
Oh, shape up already!
Shape up? Hmm... shapes... Oh yes, of course! Pentagon!
Wow, you all are acting like children.
I see where this one is going.
L'Enfant Plaza.
Back to me already? Let's go with Arlington Cemetery.
In all your bickering, you overlooked what was right in front of your noses! Largo Town Center. I win.

As we near the final round of this tournament, I remind the players to refrain from questioning the rules, except when the rules have been found questionable. This game will be played by the same rules as Match Game '08, except that the rules will in fact be entirely different. Singleton names are off-limits and punk rock performances in churches, while they may not technically be legal, are quite badass nonetheless. Tim?
Thanks, Humph. Now here's the Russian...
I hate playing this version! I can't even spell the names, yet alone pronounce them!
We have this discussion every time. Let's just agree to stick to the transliterated names as written down in the piece of paper in my pocket. Tyoply Stan.
Ok, let's go with Park Kultury.
Come on, you know that's not allowed.
Time for the traditional penalty! Illegal moves require ingesting a gallon of borscht.
No, I'm pretty sure here you don't eat borscht.
We don't? Why not?
Here the borscht eats you.
[All groan]
Please stop making up rules. That's against the spirit of the game! Now, I'll go with Filyovsky Park.
Yes! I can pronounce one of those two words. 50% isn't bad. Now I understand why singleton names aren't allowed in this version- more chances to find a recognizable word. Let's try this one on for size: Ploshchad Revolyutsii.
Wow, that one is quite a mouthful. Ploshchad Ilyicha.
Terrible, Barry. That's incredibly boring, but I guess it's technically legal. Let's spice things up a bit. Kuznetsky Most.
Let's see now... Oktyabrskoye Pole.
I think I have it! Let me check... yes! Pyatnitskoye Shosse!

At last, we have reached the final round, except for the one after this one. This time, we will play by the Fixed Distance Rule, subcategory 2, which may be unfamiliar to you. I can tell you I wasn't even aware this city had a rail system, let alone these rules.
I'd start at Hollywood & Vine, but that's such a cliche...besides there's more going on down the street these days, at Hollywood/Highland.
I was going to go to Hollywood & Vine, but you blocked that move! Fine, Vermont/Santa Monica it is.
7th Street/Metro Center.
Let's go to Washington.
Washington, I thought we already played there?
Ah, a tricky move indeed. I see you've thoroughly confused Tim. Thankfully, I studied this strategy in great detail on my last visit to Hollywood. Firestone.
You were in Hollywood?
Here we go again! He was an extra in some sci-fi movie a couple of years ago. He's been blabbering on about it for months.
It was a Syfy Original Film, to be precise. Nearly 30,000 people watched parts of it while waiting for wrestling to start!
And you're proud of this.
Of course I am. Wouldn't you be proud of that sort of accomplishment?
Oh, let's finish this game already. It's not like I have much of a choice of what to play here. Let's see how this goes: Artesia.
Pacific Coast Highway.
Well, that was awful.

At last, we come to the finals of the World Series, to determine who will win the prize, which will, as usual, not be awarded. But before we begin, I see we've received a surprisingly large amount of mail, namely one postcard from a Mrs. Trellis of North Wales. She writes, “Dear Manic Sages: Would you please stop explaining how the puzzle works and get to the actual puzzle already?” Now it would be unfair to introduce new rules at this stage, so we're just going to play by the old rules from the other rounds instead. Only, er, not simultaneously, as that would be nonsensical, and nonsense has no place in a game like this. Your starting position, appropriately enough, is Wimbledon, and the first move goes to Tim.
I'll open with a southern lateral approach to West Brompton.
Very cautious, almost cowardly move on your part.
Oh, don't give me that, Graeme, you've made that move a thousand times.
I'll have to go to Parsons Green.
Backing away this early...that's even worse!
And I suppose you'll be taking an aggressive attack on this move?, I'll just rotate clockwise to Wood Lane.
After all that bluster, a rotational? Bah, let me show you how it's done. Euston Square!
Wow, Barry, that's quite gutsy on your part. I didn't think you had it in you.
It's an indirect adjacency and quite dangerous all right. Let's see if we can defuse this situation...head a little bit west to Ruislip.
A little bit west? If you're going to head out there, you might as well just go all the way to Wales! Let's head back in towards Golders Green and...
[buzzer sounds]
What? Was that move invalid? Did I just say the secret word?
No, nothing of the sort, that sound just means it's time for tea. We'll pick up again afterwards.

Welcome to the exciting second half of the World Series finals. Now, our listeners may have lost track of how the game was going. I know I certainly have, so we'll start over. The initial position was a major sporting venue, I think it was the Oval, and Tim had the first move.
Thanks, Humph. Er, how about a transverse crossover to Barons Court?
Now let's take an inward attack, crossing through the Circle Line and...
Right, right...
No, that won't work. South Ealing it is, then.
Wait, what? That's a very tricky position you put me in.
It certainly is. How are you going to get out of this one?
Aha! Hounslow West!
Hounslow West?! How'd you get there?
The long way, through the airport.
That can't be legal, can it? Humphrey?
There's no rule against going to Heathrow needlessly...nobody in their right mind would do it, but this is Graeme. The move is valid.
Hmmm...that's a very unusual position. Totteridge & Whetstone.
...eight, nine, ten. Yes, you've opened up the classic non-indirect transfer via the Charing Cross branch there. So that's Mornington Crescent.
Well done, Tim! You've won the World Series, and the nonexistent prize for winning it will not be presented to you at the closing ceremony. And to all our listeners, we hope you've enjoyed this competition almost as much as our non-listeners have enjoyed not listening to it. Good night!