Eight Fun Games To Play On The Tube

violin

Image by Rosie in the Londonist Flickr pool.

News of 24-hour trains has well and truly swept the capital. While the city’s optimists are relishing the prospect of a speedy exit home without having to down our pints and make a run for it just before midnight, it’s getting harder to ignore the little voice somewhere deep down that’s starting to think that being trapped in a metal tube with a stag do and a pile of vomit might be a tad unpleasant.

But fear not. Even if your phone’s died and your Kindle wouldn’t fit in your clutch bag, here are eight ways to keep your mind off what the hell is going on in the next carriage…

Escalator Crush

As your thumb recovers from Tinder-induced repetitive strain injury, it’s time to switch off and start looking for love in the real world. The premise is simple. As you ride up the escalator, look across at the folks going down and choose one you wouldn’t mind getting your hands on. But just the one. Pick too soon, and you run the risk of missing out on a Victoria Line vixen or Bakerloo badboy, but pick too late and you’re forced to fantasise about the last person to step on the escalator – however good, bad or ugly.

Hot Potato (Evening Standard edition)

What could be more fun than a nice, quiet journey reading the Evening Standard? Why, chucking it around of course! Players have to pass around the paper before time runs out (set a 1 min timer on your phone), as their hands get increasingly covered in the pesky black ink that once made up a headline about Kate Middleton’s latest hair-do. Whoever’s holding the paper when time runs out has to touch their face and therefore spend the rest of the journey looking like a coalminer (or a fashion student from Dalston).

Eye contact chicken

See how long you can outstare your unwitting opponent before they look away/call the police. Novices should begin with the naivest elements of the tube-faring population – tourists. More experienced players wanting to add an element of risk should opt for angry red-faced commuters in the morning rush, or that bloke talking to himself in the corner.

Tube surfing

Yeah, we know. Only teenagers and people carrying ironing boards back from Wembley Ikea are foolish enough to see how long they can stand up in the carriage without holding on. But you know you want to – especially if it gives you an excuse to play ‘Surfin’ USA’ on your iPod. For a more subtle approach, try during rush hour – that way people will just think you can’t reach the pole while acting as convenient buffers should you fall over. Extra points if you’re wearing stilettos (that goes for you too, boys).

Train transfer time trial

If you regularly have to make the same transfer, see how quickly you can get from one platform to another. You’ll feel slightly less guilty about not going to the gym. Disqualifying factors include: travelling faster than a brisk walk, knocking over small children, losing your rag with slow-walking people.

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Image by El Zoid in the Londonist Flickr pool.

Map memory

Can you list every station on the Central Line? Including all the Actons and that weird, loopy bit after Leyton? Sharpen up those memory muscles by attempting to remember as much of the map as you can. It might not sound particularly exciting, but there’s always that slim chance that it’ll be the only thing standing between you and a speedboat on <insert name of crap quiz show here>.

Poor man’s…

We all love a bit of celeb spotting, but these days you’re more likely to run into one of them lot from Made in Chelsea rather than have Daniel Craig sweep you off your feet for a night of passion in the Dorchester. Although you’re not going to glimpse any A-listers on their way back from a night on the tiles, you and your mates can battle it out to find the best look-alike the Northern Line has to offer. After all, surely a poor man’s Ryan Gosling is better than the real Spencer Matthews? Even if he does live in Clapham.

Sound-a-likes

If you fancy yourself as a bit of an impersonator and are constantly trying to impress your mates with your finest mockney, this is the one for you. Bust out your best version of ‘Mind the Gap’ and relive the innocent pleasure of your earliest days in London (including the disgusted and slightly embarrassed glares from your fellow commuters). For bonus points, Jubilee passengers can do that tourist thing of repeating ‘This train terminates at Neeeeeasden’ at each stop.

Alternatively, you can try and beat Geoff Marshall’s record of visiting all the tube stations in one day, spot animals on the underground, or try your luck with some escalator skiing*.

And if all else fails, you can always play a game of Mornington Crescent

By Emma Brooke

*Do not actually try this.

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  • JohnnyFox

    I have a version of Eye Contact Chicken which works brilliantly on students, hipsters and other terminally insecures. Bet yourself you can stare at them long enough to make them check their phone within a defined number of seconds – start with 40 to 60, then give yourself extra points for narrowing their window of opportunity and your intensity of gaze.

  • Sarah E Bowmer

    I saw Sir Ben Kingsley on the Circle Line one Sunday morning – reading a script :-) I think that counts as acting royalty, at least!

  • Herderofcats

    Mexican Yawn is a good game to play on tube trains where there are a lot of people sitting down. All you need to do is yawn once and people around you subconsciously get an urge to yawn too. The goal is to see how far down the carriage you can make your yawn travel.

  • Alex Cragg

    Another favourite is Gladiator Hang Tough.

    2 people, 1 each on opposite horizontal handrails by the doors.

    Hang tough and use legs to grapple the other person down. All the more fun when swinging round corners or slamming to an abrupt halt.

  • Marion Fregeac

    We also found our own version of tube fun! (do not try, this was done by a trained acrobat :-) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=679385718763026&set=a.431793093522291.105751.287753351259600&type=3&theater

  • Samantha Keech

    I like playing ‘Guess Who’ on the tube. I look around the carriage and guess based on people’s dress sense and mannerisms which station they’ll depart. Basically a London stereotype game – it does become oddly addictive though. Read more here: http://twdchallenge.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/the-art-of-people-watching/