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Originally conceived as a short-term meeting in 1994 to discuss the Quadrant Five semantic problem, negotiations between the political wing of CAMREC and the conservative faction of the IMCS soon became so protracted - and heated - that eventually nearly all aspects of the rules came up for discussion. The fact that Mrs Trellis's memory is not what it used to be, rendered her little more than a figurehead in these discussions, with the result that the two sides were forced to actually talk to each other more than they were used to. The very thought of amending Chalk Farm '84 in any way caused several wildcat strikes by more militant members of CAMREC - up to and including the younger generation, under the banner of the Fifth Quadranters: leading to seven critical token shortages, four serious derailments, nineteen incidents of leaves on the line and even, in one case, a proposal to move the site of the talks to Dollis Hill.

Happily, this terrible prospect came to nothing, and six years later the new ruleset was finally released. Typically, it immediately came under fire from the less contented members on both sides, but so far there has been no actual violence (although a couple of Suspect Packages left by dissidents have been seized and defused, and on one occasion, no less a man than Ould had to be forcibly restrained from ramming his five-pronged fFlanger up the nose of one of his own, particularly recalcitrant, backbenchers - who prefers to remain anonymous.)

Among the new features in the game are a new concept of how LV and positioning works in the realms of quantum physics (naturally based on the work of Trellis and Grossman), which has led to several important discoveries in the field of stable pickerings. The addition of the Jubilee and Docklands extensions as full parts of the London Underground *without* needing to be placed in a special temporary Quadrant 5 necessitated a major rebalancing and reweighting of stations: although things became much easier once the condition, that none of the new stations be magenta, was dropped - requiring corresponding adjustments in the game of Baker Street (something which both parties were reluctant to do), adjustments which in their turn affected conditions particularly on the Piccadilly and District lines. The idea of five rather than four divisions was preserved in a more acceptable form, in which a central area was exempted from Quadrant conditions, and the Quadrant definitions generally apply outside the central zone with the boundaries in their original CF'84 position. (The famous argument between Ould and the IMCS extremist backbenchers was largely over the semantic question of calling it "Quadrant 0", which of course would have been unacceptable...)

Among smaller changes, Aldgate East and Aldgate were swapped in colour (they are now respectively green and puce), the Spin differential between Dollis Hill and Neasden was increased by 3 degrees per second, and bridges are wild if the freem count is high (which, thanks to the snood-freem quasi-equivalence concept, is liable to be more frequent if the LV is also high - but, of course, less relevant for exactly the same reason) and various other adjustments of a generally small nature were made in similar vein. The actual Finsbury Option itself, after which the Amendments of 1988 were named, was accepted without reservation as a piece of simple good sense.

Unfortunately, the ruleset did not prove to be a success at first. It was amazing that the moderate wing of CAMREC had ever accepted it in the first place, for all of Ould's diplomatic skills: the organisation split immediately, and the hardliners came back to power. The actual ruleset was revealed to have major problems: initially, only minor ones showed, but by the time of the second pack of amendments (2001), it was revealed - the hard way - that patching the minor problems resulted in the return of the infamous Mornington Crescent Loop, a cure which was self-evidently worse than the disease. A hastily-released third set of amendments, then a fourth and fifth, have made it approximately playable, but the IMCS's credibility took a major downturn.

Part of the problem is alleged to have been the IMCS's insistence on planning for the future, even at the expense of the present situation. The Finsbury Option amendments had been delayed by over a year by the change in plans over where the Jubilee Line Extension was to be built, and Quadrant 5 had to be introduced as a temporary measure, along with Spin-decay: and it has been alleged - probably with a great deal of accuracy - that the IMCS had been relying not only on the full opening of Jubilee, Docklands and East London Line extensions (the Docklands extension came considerably later, only just in time to rescue the fourth amendments: and the planned ELL extension is still not even built, and may also be re-routed) but on integration with above-ground networks that are supposed to have included the Croydon Tramlink. In fact, to this day, if the Tramlink is included as part of the network and cut off before play begins by means of a Blocked Understrile, it gets rid of 90% of the annoying extra loops, quantum-tunnelling effects, and consequent Pickering instabilities.

As a result, instead of waiting for yet more amendments, the IMCS has now turned to considering an entire rewrite of the ruleset as a cure for the problems. Great things are promised (albeit nothing specific): but then, great things were promised with HP2K... and CAMREC are writing their own proposed ruleset, aided by a couple of high-profile IMCS defectors.


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Edited April 2, 2007 2:13 pm by Simons Mith (diff)