Play usually starts out sedately, often in the manner that the players actually started their day. Gradually, the involvement and intensity builds until the players either resign, die or are forced to win. Winning is often not a particularly attractive option, especially as it may require some sort of bodily sacrifice. However, this does not deter the more dedicated players remaining; nor should this be taken as a sign that Cress necessarily has to resolve into physical violence.
Popular Cress variants include Garden Cress, Kitchen Cress, Intergalactic Cress, Office Cress and many others.
The governing body in charge of Cress is the International Cress Federation. Mornington Crescent and Cress are slightly related games; it is actually possible to play Mornington Crescent as a subset of Cress, although this is not a very satisfactory game. However, the game of Mornington Chess, which is more closely related to Mornington Crescent than Cress, is managed under the auspices of the ICF rather than the IMCS.