Introducing The Transpennine Train Game, a dice based race game exclusive to East of the M60

With the Coronavirus leading to many people self-isolating and social distancing, there may come a time when you have tired of Facebook or had your fill of YouTube. You may be one of the lucky ones who can work from home, or you need to look after your children because the schools have closed.

With extra space for family time comes extra time for making our own amusement. Instead of playing the same old board games, you might wish to invent your own. This is what I did.

The Transpennine Train Game

My original plan was a board game based on the premise of trying to cross the Ordsall Curve, without getting stuck at Deansgate Junction. Instead I changed it to reflect a journey from Redcar Central to Manchester Airport.

The Transpennine Train Game has some of the pitfalls you expect from a journey between Piccadilly and Victoria stations. There are references to red lines, station cats and real ale.

Our rough-as-a-badger’s-behind-board can be downloaded from this website. You may wish to customise it as you see fit and add some more colour to the board. Just download The Transpennine Train Game board and print it off.

Mounting your board

There are two ways you can mount your board. Firstly you could mount the whole A4 sheet by gluing it to the side of a cardboard box (i.e.: corrugated cardboard Amazon box or from your favourite cereal box). Or, you can cut the U shaped board and mount it onto cardboard.

Counters and dice

As the board has four counters, you may choose to cut any of the train-based counters. You can either be a Class 185 DMU, a Class 158 Express DMU, a Class 45 Peak locomotive or a Class 47 Thunderbird locomotive. If you prefer, you can use your own counters.

Being as we have given you four counter designs to play with, our design skills do not extend to the creation of dice. You can raid the Snakes and Ladders board for a die. Better still, in the interests of hygiene, look for one of these Pop-o-matic Dice if you have a copy of Frustration.

If you have a smartphone, you can download a dice rolling app. On Android, Nikola Kosev’s Dice App is one example. On the iPhone, you can download Benoît Layer’s self-explanatory Dice.

Playing the game

The Transpennine Train Game is a bog standard train based racing game. You can choose to start your journey at Redcar Central or Manchester Airport. The first player to complete a round trip wins the game.

It is similar to the railway based race games you saw in Ian Allan’s Locospotters‘ annuals. The only difference is the pitfalls are more up-to-date, apart from the ‘cow on the line’ which you could face in 2020 as well as in 1960.

We hope this article has got you chomping at the chance of trying our exclusive board game. If you have downloaded it and mounted it on cardboard, feel free to comment. Better still, share any pictures of yourself playing The Transpennine Train Game.

S.V., 23 March 2020.

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