Mornington Crescent

Not the kind with cardstock and pawns. Mostly play by post Mafia so far.

Mornington Crescent

Postby jalapeno_dude » Wed May 20, 2015 11:20 pm

So I described my last thread on this board as a "silly forum game-type thing". Mornington Crescent is nothing of the sort. Although the list of media by which a game may be played has expanded dramatically since the rules finally solidified into their modern form (albeit non-monotonically--although a few Mornington Crescent MUDs or play-by-(-literal-)post games may cling to life among hobbyists, I doubt very much that there are any remaining games conducted via fax machine), the spirit of the game remains as noble, pure, and, most importantly, serious of purpose as it was at the inception. The decision to participate in a game of Mornington Crescent, even in such a normally casual setting as this forum, is not one to be made lightly. Involvement in perhaps the purest example of the ludic form comes with certain responsibilities and heavy burdens, and though I strongly believe these costs to be worth the benefits that will accrue to the dedicated participant in the artform (for that is what it truly is) I would be remiss to omit these words of caution. To borrow a phrase from a very different setting, this thread will not be a "101 space" for those new to the game. I hope the games here will be of a sufficiently friendly spirit to enable thoughtful discussion of the finer strategic points of the game even while a match is ongoing--but those who are looking for players more expert than themselves to do all their thinking for them are decidedly unwelcome here. All of us playing, I am sure, have spent many hours (at the very least) seeking out examples of expert play wherever we can find it, and I firmly believe that a vital part of the learning experience is the very act of seeking out such information on one's own---you might liken it, a bit fancifully but not at all inaccurately, to the Hero's Journey. It is both inappropriate and unhealthy to "skip to the end" by demanding we provide new players with "tutorials" or "cheat codes" for the game.

If you have not been deterred by these preliminary disclaimers I must assume that you intend to participate in this almost worshipful act (I mean playing a match, of course) with me. In that case, of course, you must already have internalized what I have said above to the extent my understanding of the Spirit of the Game reflects the Actual Spirit, but I am sure you will agree with me that it was nevertheless necessary to say.

It is both traditional and correct (though of course in this game these two things are one and the same) to agree on the applicable ruleset before commencing play. I am partial to a somewhat obscure set, myself, the Little Book of V.A. Aminev, passed from group to group as samizdat in the dark days of the Ban on the game in the Soviet Union and available in the West in only a very small number of copies--with, of course, certain necessary emendations that I would be delighted to elucidate as the game continues. I should warn you that Aminev's rules can seem a little "unorthodox" (ha!) in places, but I find that employing them in the first game between a group of players who have not interacted before often helps to "break the ice", so to speak.
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Re: Mornington Crescent

Postby pistachi0n » Wed May 20, 2015 11:43 pm

I think I'm up for this grave challenge. I fear I will disappoint, but I am willing to pay the ultimate price if it means I get the exalted honor of participating in Mornington Crescent.
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Re: Mornington Crescent

Postby Alicorn » Thu May 21, 2015 12:21 am

I have never played before, but I've wanted to. The ruleset just spoke to me. The only proper hardbound copy I actually have in my possession is the steganography in my copy of the 1974 Encyclopedia Britannica, though (everyone has one of those, and the key, right? I think it's the standard version), so if we wanted to use a variant we might have to email around scans of the errata relative to that baseline. Also, who's moderating? If we go with the Little Book, jalapeno_dude would be a good choice, I think I'm prepared to trust him to both play and moderate the game.
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Re: Mornington Crescent

Postby Lambda » Thu May 21, 2015 9:19 am

Although I cannot claim to have mastered the art of the game, I would welcome an opportunity to exercise my repertoire, if that would be acceptable to the other players.

I am probably most familiar with second edition Stovold, but I agree that Aminev is a good choice for this format.
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Re: Mornington Crescent

Postby DanielH » Thu May 21, 2015 9:25 am

Alas, I doubt my ability to play well at this time. I believe I comprehend the rules, but would prefer to not make a foolish mistake. As jalapeno_dude said, it would be good for me to seek out further examples of expert play first. I hope that this thread will provide such examples.
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Re: Mornington Crescent

Postby AndaisQ » Thu May 21, 2015 9:35 am

I have never backed down from a game of MC before, and I'll not do so now. Though I'll warn you that my particular background has made me a bit of a stickler- if we're going by Aminev, I might just become totally insufferable. I've always been partial to Castelluccio's Etiolated Variant, but I recognize that it's not the best regarded in these circles. (Even if we don't go with his full set, I have to recommend integrating his Helvetica clause, which is really just life-changing. And life-saving, for that matter.)

ETA: Examples will certainly be forthcoming, DanielH! Watch and learn, watch and learn.
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Re: Mornington Crescent

Postby Lambda » Thu May 21, 2015 9:54 am

It occurs to me to ask: are you using the third or fifth folio? I understand they are generally interpreted to imply different turn order rules when adapted to online play.
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Re: Mornington Crescent

Postby AndaisQ » Thu May 21, 2015 10:00 am

Common misconception - it's only the fourth that altered turn order, after which it returned to standard. (Thankfully.)

I tend to use the third, myself, but fifth would be an interesting experience. Any reference to the possibility of using fourth is tantamount to heresy and will be treated accordingly.
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Re: Mornington Crescent

Postby Alicorn » Thu May 21, 2015 10:18 am

Damn, but I can get a copy of the fourth if I disinter my great-uncle to extract it, whereas I have no idea how I'd get my hands on one of the odd-numbered editions. Somebody please reassure me that I'll still get to play, that an electronic copy of the rules from whoever has paper will be provided?
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Re: Mornington Crescent

Postby AndaisQ » Thu May 21, 2015 10:36 am

In the name of preventing use of the fourth folio? Of course!

(Side note, however: is your great-uncle's coffin lead-lined? Because it probably should be.)
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