A fun idea for a game for which you will need dice and a bus

As you know, I love to play games.

I have invented a new game which I play on the bus and am intending on inventing a new board game based on it.  It's called the 'If I Get on the Bus and it's Empty, Can I Possibly Ride all the Way Home Without Another Passenger Getting on and Spoiling my Fun?' game.  It's SUCH a hoot to play, and if I can get the board game marketed by Christmas, I'll be quids in, and will be rolling in cash, and won't need to be bothered at all about losing money because THE NEWSPAPER COLUMN I HAVE HAD FOR TWO YEARS HAS BEEN DROPPED AND NO I'M NOT AT ALL UPSET ABOUT IT BUT DON'T HUG ME WHATEVER YOU DO.   

I know you are excited about my game, and want to know the details even before the official board game comes into the shops (or, for an advance order, log on to my website at www.gamesideasforthederanged.co.uk).

So, here are the rules.

9.35pm.  Get on the bus in the evening and find it gloriously empty, so that you have a choice of all the seats and can pretend it is your PRIVATE bus, commissioned only to pick you up and take you home after a long and arduous parents' evening.  Leisurelyly (?) choose a seat, and relax.  Pretend you are a film star with a personal chauffeur (er ... whose Lamborghini is at the garage).  Go forward 20 spaces.

9.37pm.  Approach first bus stop.  No one is there.  Bus goes straight past.  Go forward 2 spaces.

9.39pm.  Approach second bus stop.  No one is there either.  Bus goes straight past.  Go forward 2 spaces.

9.42pm.  Approach third bus stop.  Bus slows down.  Get anxious.  Lift yourself out of the seat slightly so you can see whether or not there's anyone waiting.  There's no one.  Resist leaping up in the air and shouting 'YES!' otherwise you may get thrown off the bus and that would spoil the whole game.  Bus speeds up again and goes past.  Go forward 2 spaces.

9.45  Approach fourth bus stop.  Note that there are two people waiting at it.  Slump down in seat with disappointed sigh as bus slows down.  The fun is over.  Prepare to go backwards 10 spaces.  Then .... Then .... note that as bus approaches stop, the two people wander away from it, shaking their heads at the driver.  Clench fists in suppressed excitement.  Bite tongue by mistake.  Go forward 2 spaces.  

9.47  Approach fifth bus stop.  No one there, but ... wait!  There IS a man, running along the pavement alongside the bus.  Is he trying to catch it?  Is he just a jogger?  Palpitate.  Sweat.  Shake.  YES!  He's just a jogger!  Wave at him out of the window and blow him a kiss.  Try to resist punching the air, but fail.  Meet driver's eyes in mirror.  Settle back down into seat quickly.  Go forward 2 spaces.


9.51  There is only one stop left until yours.  You have nearly made it!  But, if anyone gets on at this one, you are well and truly stuffed, and lose all the points won so far ................ But, as the bus approaches the stop, you see no one.  No one is there!  Yes, yes, yes!  Prepare to go forward 10 spaces and reach 100!  But, no!  Surely not!  It cannot be!  Someone IS there, and what's more, because they were in a black coat, have dark hair, and were not looking in the direction of the bus, you didn't see them. GO BACK A MILLION SPACES AND TAKE A 'YOU ARE A HUMILIATED LOSER' CARD!  The bus slows down to pick the person up.  They get on the bus.  How DARE they?  This is YOUR bus!  Still, on they get, and what's more, have the cheek to sit down and start eating crisps, on YOUR bus, munching away and making a noise like a pig at a trough, on YOUR bus, just when you're trying to cope with your grief.  Oh no!  Not the IPOD too!  Not only the pig in trough noise, but now the tss-tss-tss of some god-awful music.  Sigh the sigh of the deeply torn.  Go back another million spaces.  

9.54  The bus is approaching your stop.  Dejected and despairing at having lost this game of 'If I Get on the Bus and it's Empty, Can I Possibly Ride all the Way Home without another Passenger Getting On and Spoiling My Fun?' you force yourself to stand up, ring the bell (the Ding-Ding only reinforcing your pain, like a funeral toll) and trudge down the aisle to the front, giving the black-coated-troughing-Ipodding INVADER the Look from Hell.  Find yourself on the Square Number 1.

9.55  You get off.  You glance back, wondering whether the black-coated-troughing-Ipodding passenger is now embarking on her own version of 'CIPRATWHWAPGOASMF?'   Find yourself on the START square.

9.55 + 3 seconds.  Say a bad prayer, which goes, 'Dear God.  Please make someone get on at the next stop so that she fails at her game of 'CIPRATWHWAPGOASMF?' even more quickly than I did.'  Fall off the edge of the board into the fires of hell.


  1. I hope Waddingtons get to hear of this right away! LOL :)

  2. I think you should contemplate the possibility of adding points for something involving the long and arduous parents. Nothing to do with the bus actually making physical contact with them (unless you want to), but . . . something...
    Do any of them take the bus?
    ...or miss it and have to run after it, choking on exhaust fumes?

  3. It sounds like a fantastic game - but I'm very sorry to hear about your newpaper column.

  4. Well, what can I say.

    Much as I'd like to join your game, I can't, there aren't any buses here. Oh stop a mo, I probably wouldn't do that anyway, even if there were buses here, because I couldn't look up from my book long enough to see if anyone else were getting on and off. The only way I'd look up long enough would be if they offered me an olive from their jar. Then I'd probably have a conversation with them to see if they'd give me another olive.

    Leisurelyly? Are you mad, woman? No wonder you lost your column.
    Hugs. Lots and lots and lots of hugs.

  5. Would reading a book on the bus be a less hypertensive option for you, Fran? And don't let the column pinchers get you down.

    Anna May x

  6. Jinksy - You're right. I should go straight to the top companies with this one.

    June - I love the way you have changed my 'long and arduous parents evening' to just 'long and arduous parents'. I am saying nothing.

    Helen - I have to play games in order to deal with the pain.

    Friko - heard of Job?.....

    Anna May - I do, I do read on the bus. If there are other people on it, and no chance to play the game.

  7. Fran - hilarious, I'd buy that game!! It could work on Nintendo Wii as well, think big, maybe Sandra Bullock driving the bus to provide even more tension?.
    Sorry about your newspaper column - how dare they? I'm affronted on your behalf

  8. I think the London bus system (is it systematic enough to be called a system?) has finally pushed you over the edge.... time perhaps to buy a car? Move? Walk? Leave?

  9. Oh no, I didn't even know you wrote a column? Maybe you could save it by publishing the link, and we could all go over and read it, and the number of hits would go up and you would be saved?

  10. Love the idea, the product of a fertile imagination.

    Sorry to hear about the column. I had one for a little over two years, before getting ousted by a newly redundant local weather presenter. Maybe we should invent a newspaper game, the person who hangs on to their column the longest, wins?

  11. I can already see the TV version of this game, hosted by Ronnie Corbett.

    Sorry about the column though :o(

  12. I love the idea of this game....I regularly wish the people of South London would get off the bus I'm on.

    Sorry too about your column, something which I can only aspire to. (Won't hug you though)

  13. How dare they axe your column. I am not not hugging you, not even a cyber brackets one - honest.

    Love that game. I hope you win it very soon:-)

  14. I'm sorry your column has been dropped, Fran... And also that you had to encounter such a rude person on the bus. How dare they? It was your bus!

  15. Brigid - Your idea of a Bus Wii is a great one. We could go into partnership.

    Ann - I did leave London. I'm now in the Midlands. So it's the Midlands buses pushing me over the edge. Buy a car? No way. I wouldn't have half so much fun.

    Annie - here's the link if you want to look - http://www.tes.co.uk/searchResults.aspx?area=thePaper&keywords=fran+hill I'm more annoyed about the loss of funds than anything - I was lucky to hold on to the column for so long. It's just that they paid very well!

    Martin H - Okay, you invent the rules and sell the game and I'll share the profits. Whaddya mean, not fair?

  16. Karen - yes, Ronnie Corbett. Good idea. But would he be able to see over the seats?

    Domestic Goddesque - it's funny how we resent the other passengers! Like my sister says, all buses do is stop-start-stop-start. I have to remind her that people have to get on somehow!

    Lane - the day I win that game, you will know about it, don't you worry.

    Alexandra - bus passengers ain't what they used to be, for sure.

  17. So where do you live, with all those empty buses? Mid-Shetland?

  18. Goodness. That was a very stressful bus ride. I'm not sure what the equivalent would be here in the states, since (a) we don't ride buses all that often, because (b) our cities are quickly running out of money so (c) we all drive our own cars on ridiculously crowded highways and (d) if anybody gets into our cars and starts eating crisps, we would probably pull a cute little handgun out of our purse and force them to leap out the window onto the highway.

    Especially if they were wearing a black coat.

    Life is tough all over, I suppose.

  19. Just noticed that I missed this post .
    So , I am only now aware of the loss of your column .
    But , when your board game is Hamley's Best Selling Item this Christmas , you can buy the paper and expand your column to a double page spread in colour .

  20. Isabelle - if it really was 'all those empty buses' I would win the game. I never do.

    Lesley - You really do make bus travel sound like the best option, you know.

    SmitandSon - I shall also buy Hamley's. I love all the teddies.

  21. I just want to be the bus driver who gets to secretly watch you punch the air; all the while taking notes to write my own blog post of the woman who plays her soon-to-be-bus-board-game.

    Oh yes, I will buying it.

  22. I want your bus game too. A definite winner. I am so sorry re the column, Fran. But maybe you should change to books instead! Excellent. Let us know when we can buy either - game or book!

  23. Tay Talk - you really don't want to be a bus driver. They have to deal with all kinds of strange people. Not me, I mean, of course.

    Linds - I wish, I wish. I have two books doing the rounds of agents/publishers/competitions/any passers-by in the street who will take one. No joy as yet. One day ...

  24. Hey Fran, I was catching up with your blog today and read about your column being axed.. I wanted to write privately but couldn't see an email... which is probably actually a good idea as I've had some right nutters contact me. (Still, it makes for amusing reading anyway!) Anyway, just wanted to say I'm very sorry to hear what's happened - if it's any consolation the same happen to me at the BBC without even as much as email to let me know! Incredible! Anyway, keep your chin up you're a great writer and I'm sure something else will come your way soon:)

    All the best, Jane Turley

  25. Hi Jane - thanks for your nice comment! I did actually get a personal phone call to say 'You're dumped, sunshine' which was better than nothing, I suppose. (And he put it a lot more nicely than that, I hasten to add.)


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