This is an information thread- please don’t start playing Morningom Crescent here
Okay, so I’ve read the Wikipedia article and I understand that the whole idea is a spoof of a game with very complicated rules, like Fizzbin on Star Trek. But the whole thing sounds like a one-off joke to me. What I don’t get is how, if there are really no actual rules, what’s the point of doing it more than once? The whole thing is really only clever as a concept. The actual application – coming up with things that sound like rules to a game but really aren’t – doesn’t strike me as being funny on an ongoing basis. It’s like coming up with endless variations of “Who’s on First?” or the “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch. Isn’t there a point at which you say “okay, this little joke has been done.” Because after that it becomes nothing more than a series of statements whose sole notable characteristic is that it’s not true. I guess it’s the same reason I don’t find Andy Zaltzman entertaining. There’s nothing particularly funny about a statement that has no depth beyond “it’s not true.”
It’s a very specific type of humor, doesn’t appeal to everyone.
It can be surprisingly (though lightly) challenging to play - better than watching - in that maintaining self-consistency within a round takes a bit of thought.
Hearing professionals play a few rounds of the game (I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue) may or may not make it funnier to you, in the same way that Four Yorkshiremen is probably a wee bit funnier if you’ve seen the original sketch. Some of the best rounds I’ve heard were pretty darn good comedy, not at all unoriginal.
You’ve probably been watching rounds in Twickingham Standard Rules, about as much fun as watching paint dry. Try Twickingham Revised (sorry).
The hard part for me as an American was learning that the best retort to my opponant saying that “Lester’s queer” is not “Your mom blows clowns”. They actually played Leicester Square which of course the retort would be Hammersmith.
I find it interesting because part of the game is to maintain the self-consistency as squidfood points out and to also play in a way where it is absurd, but not overtly so. I guess the trick of the game is that an outsider watching would think that it is really a game with a clear rule structure and different strategies but yet have no idea of what those rules are so for example someone says “since you have tokens on Bakerloo and Northern Lines so I can play a blue token anywhere on the Circle Line. Blackfriars.” someone who has never seen MC would see that I invoked a rule or two but could not tell you what that rules actually are or the strategy in picking that particular station or what the significance of the token being blue.
As mentioned earlier it can be really funny on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a clue where genuinely funny people can use the concept in many different ways. However on forums like the Straight Dope, the game almost denigrates quickly to waffling on about tokens and the like, which is just not amusing more than once.
I have to disagree. I think it can be quite challenging to:
[li]Remain internally consistent. If I say I’m stuck on the Victoria Line Causality Loop, then I’d better have a pretty good idea of what it is, and remain “in character.” Perhaps it means I can only play stations on the Victoria Line until an unspecified event in the game. (I’d apply to porno-test - I know it when I see it.) If I say I have 2 violet tokens and 1 red token, then I need to keep track of them. If someone makes a play that somehow recalls all the tokens off the board, and I then mention my 2 violet tokens, that’s cheating, and will take me out of the “reality” of the game.[/li][li]Make up logical sounding “rules” citing arcane journals, and make it sound real. I will admit, I’m not as good at this part as some others, [/li][li]Recall a story from a “famous” past match. Bricker does this really well.[/li][/ol]
Agreed - that would be obnoxious, and I hope that wouldn’t happen.
That’s really the best analogy. Actually, it’s more than an analogy, that’s what it is; it’s an improvisational sketch game.
Doing it right isn’t easy. Not everyone in our MC threads is all that fantastic at it; you can’t just say “I’ve got a lot of blue tokens.” A good MC play involves rules that sound real but are ludicrous, references to past matches, citing precedents, playing off other people’s comments and acting as if you’re really engaged in a competitive match of wits, and making it sound absolutely dead serious, all while having a map of the London Underground in front of you so you can choose a station that’s actually near the last one played. If you can make your move actually seem logically connected to your commentary, you’ve scored big time.
Since you’re also part of a group of people playing the game, there’s also an element of ensemble acting and role playing in it, whcih imposes the #1 rule fo good role playing; to everyone else you are a supporting character. Be funny and original but don’t hog the game.
To my mind it’s not the joke; it’s appreciating the skill with which the improviser tells his little part of the story.
Oh, and a very light Moderator Note; I agree with some of the opinions expressed thus far. This thread should remain a discussion of the nature and appeal of Mornington Crescent. Please do not derail this thread by actually playing MC; we have MC threads or you can start another.
Honestly, this is where I think the SMDB MC thread goes wrong. In the original radio bits (which I find quite funny), the majority of responses are just station names with perhaps the occasional comment on somebody else’s move or a mention of a rule. On the SDMB, people try a little too hard to be clever, and virtually every post includes a peculiar rule, match, etc.
If, as Saint Cad suggests, one of the goals of the game is to be absurd but not overtly so, that really needs to be toned down.
Agreed - when I play, I mostly will comment on why I’m making a particular move. Of course, I’ll keep the reason “in game” saying how since the game is in stirrups, or I’m stuck on a particular line, and so I’m having to settle for this move. In reality, of course, I’m just grabbing the next station down the line, or a connecting station that would get me to Mornington Crescent.
I do like the original idea of it though. I play bridge which is a type of game MC satirises - reading some expert threads on bridge forums can be funny when you equate them to the MC mindset. Funnier tbh, as reality usually trumps satire (sry).
Please observe that the OP requested that we not start playing it in here.
</Mod hat off>
To address the OP, I was once told that it was a game anybody who didn’t have younger siblings would never “get” and that’s proven true for me. A lot of the fun is supposedly watching the mental contortions unknowing readers have to do in order to find a pattern in the game. And, of course, after a while when board knowledge of the game becomes saturated, it just becomes a general in-joke.