Metrum is a meld making card game in a similar vein to Rummy. In Rummy the aim is to collect sets of cards (called melds) of either the same face value or a run of consecutive values in the same suit and to play them onto the table to score points. Rummy is played with a standard pack of 52 cards with suits of clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades (some variants of Rummy are played with multiple packs).
In contrast a card in Metrum consists of a single metro station and any metro lines that run through that station. Melds in Metrum mostly consist of a set of station cards with the same metro line. Connection stations have multiple lines and therefore there is more flexibility about which meld a connection station could belong to (although they can only belong to one meld).
In the Metrum Classic variant, players select a card from a set of upturned selection cards, so have a choice about which card to use. There are no discards from a players hand. There are advanced play tactics that also allow players to swap a card from their hand with one on an existing meld, and to add cards to opponent’s melds. There are restrictions about which melds have to be played before a player can go out. You can also play a beginner version of the Classic variant.
Creating the game deck
All cards are used in the deck for the Base game. The Expansion games have station cards which are duplicates of the Base game but with additional lines added. When an Expansion deck is used in combination with a Base deck, any duplicate Base station cards should be removed. These are easily identified as duplicate cards in the Base deck have a black dot in the bottom left and top right corners.
In the example below, the top red-backed Euston card is from the London Base deck and has the Northern and Victoria lines only and two black dots in the corners. The bottom blue-backed Euston card is from the London Expansion deck and also has the Overground line, and no black dots. The top card is the one that is removed from the combined game deck.
Card deal and setup
Shuffle the game pack and deal 7 cards face down to each player, and place the remaining undealt cards face down to form a stock. Turn the top 4 cards of the stock face up to form a set of selection cards. The example below shows the initial game setup for 3 players.
Players can select 1 multi-line connection station card, or up to two single-line station cards. In the example shown below, a player could choose to take both Goldhawk Road and Chesham, or just choose one of these. Alternatively they can take either Oxford Circus or Victoria.
A standard meld is a set of either 3 or 4 cards where there is one metro line that is common to all cards. In the example below, Caledonian Road, Finsbury Park and Acton Town are all on the Piccadilly Line, so can be melded together. Note that as Finsbury Park is a connection station and is also on the Victoria line, it could also be melded with 2 or 3 other Victoria line stations. Similarly Acton Town could belong to a District line meld. However, a card can only belong to one meld at a time.
The cards are designed with line symbols in the top left/bottom right corners so that the meld can be displayed more compactly with the cards overlapping, as shown in the lower part of the image below.
It is possible to add another Piccadilly Line station card to the meld below as standard melds can have either 3 or 4 cards.
There is a special multi-line meld of either 4 or 5 cards, where every station cards is a single-line card, and all the cards represent different lines. In the example below Lambeth North is on the Bakerloo, Oval is on the Northern, Fulham Broadway is on the District and Bermondsey is on the Jubilee line. None of the stations are connection stations.
It is possible to add a 5th card to this meld as long as it is another single line station and is on a different line from the 4 other cards.
The Inspector cards count as wild cards and can be used in any meld as appropriate to make that meld valid.
Restrictions on Melds
There are some restrictions for melds in the Metrum Classic variant, but no restrictions in the Metrum Classic Beginner variant.
Single-Line Meld Restrictions
All standard melds in the Metrum Classic variant must contain at least one single-line station card.
In the example below, the meld on the left consists of Elephant & Castle, Embankment and Baker Street but it is invalid because there is no single-line station as part of the meld and therefore cannot be played. The meld on the right which contains Marylebone in place of Baker Street is valid.
Cross-line Melds Restrictions
If a player wants to play two or more multi-line melds, then there cannot be any lines duplicated across their melds.
In the example below, both multi-line melds are valid on their own, but cannot be played together by the same player because the Stamford Brook and Sloane Square (partially hidden) cards are both on the District line. In the London Base game, either card could be replaced by a single-line station on the Piccadilly or Victoria lines such as Heathrow Terminal 5 or Pimlico.
In the Metrum Classic variant, once a player has played their first meld to the table, then they have some advanced play options that they can make.
Instead of drawing a card from the face-up selection cards, once a player has played a meld to the table, they can switch one card from their hand with any played meld (either their own or another players), as long as they leave the meld intact. It is possible to pick up an Inspector card from an existing meld.
In the example below, player 2 has a Northern Line meld, consisting of Kings Cross, Camden Town and London Bridge. Player 1 has a Central Line meld, and has 3 cards in their hand including Tooting Broadway on the Northern Line, and two stations on the Hammersmith & City Line (Goldhawk Road and Barking). They can choose to swap Tooting Broadway from their hand with Kings Cross on the table, then can play Kings Cross as part of a Hammersmith & City Line meld along with Goldhawk Road and Barking.
Adding to other players’ melds
Players can also add to other players’ melds, which can be a useful tactic to allow a player to go out.
In the same example above player 1 could draw Aldgate East from the Selection Cards and play it in a Hammersmith & City Line meld along with Goldhawk Road and Barking. This would leave them with just Tooting Broadway in their hand, which they could add to player 2’s Northern Line meld as it only has 3 cards and standard melds can have either 3 or 4 cards. The Tooting Broadway card would count as part of player 2’s score, but would enable player 1 to go out and get the going out bonus.
There are some restrictions for going out in the Metrum Classic variant, but there are no restrictions for going out in the Classic Beginner variant.
Minimal Number of Melds
For 4 or more players the minimal number of melds before a player can go out is 3, for 3 players the minimum is 4 melds and for 2 players the minimum is 5 melds.
Melds on the Table versus In-Hand
Players must have played a minimum of one meld to the table prior to the turn that they go out.
Types of Melds
Players must also have one standard Meld consisting only of single-line stations on the same line.
Points are scored at the point which a player goes out as follows:
- The player who goes out gets a 500 point bonus
- Players score 100 points for each line on each station card in any melds that they have played to the table. For example an interchange station with 2 lines scores 200 points.
- Players lose 100 points for each line on each station cards for any deadwood cards that they still hold in hand.
- Inspector cards score 0 points.