Games To Play On The Tube

By M@ Last edited 28 months ago
Games To Play On The Tube

Don't sit on the tube trying to complete another level of Candy Crush, play one of these games instead:

Photo by Sven Loach from the Londonist Flickr pool.

Tube bingo

Facing a long journey on the tube? Pass the time by looking out for the various incidents on this bingo card. Spot all 12 on one journey and you get to drive the train. Possibly.

Quash the bag squatter

People who take up two seats — one for their bum and one for their bag — are an absolute joy, aren't they? The militant example-setters among us will make a beeline for the bag-seat, even if other seats are free. But there is a better way. Simply place your own bag on top of theirs. If they object, act all innocent and pretend that you genuinely thought it was a luggage rack. The jape works best if you're with friends, and can stack up the seat with multiple bags.

Spot the mutant tube beasts

We've all played this one. The curved glass used on carriage doors will bend the light in peculiar ways. If you stand back the right distance, you can warp your reflection so that your upper body disappears, to be replaced by an additional set of legs. Enlarged foreheads, multiple heads and conjoined twins are all possible with different reflection angles. The game here is to snap the most distorted 'mutant tube beast', then post it to Instagram.

Swim the tunnels

An excellent game for keeping small children quiet. Tell them to pretend that the tunnels of London Underground are flooded and that they have to swim their way out. They must hold their breath between stations, from the second the carriage windows go dark, to the moment you re-emerge at the next station. It's obviously best done in the central area, where distances between stations are short.

Cara Sweepstake

Using a discarded copy of the Evening Standard, invite fellow passengers to guess the inevitable six pages that feature Cara Delevingne. In the event of a draw, appearances by Rita Ora can be taken into account.

Moquette mysteries

Most tube trains now carry this seat moquette. While away your journey by trying to work out the four London landmarks featured in the design. Answers here.


Sit directly opposite a friend on a reasonably busy carriage. Take it in turns to shout out a random noun. An example run might go something like this: "Biscuit", "Mangrove", "Archduke", "Egg", "Holocene", "Lubricant"... You should make it look like some thought is going into the selection of word — perhaps pause for a few seconds, furrow your brow, or commend your opponent on a choice of word. The trick is to convince the carriage that you're working to a methodology, and that there's some kind of underlying pattern or connection between your utterances. End the game by both shouting "Lobster" after a pre-determined trigger word.

Mornington Crescent

The most famous of all tube games, popularised on Radio 4 panel show I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. Contestants have to pretend they're playing a really convoluted, intricate strategy game based around the stations of London Underground. It is against the ever-shifting rules to say anything critical about the game of Mornington Crescent, or to point out that it ceased to be interesting or funny several decades ago. So we won't.

Last Updated 05 July 2016