/ Escape from Colditz
Design: based on an idea of Majoor P.R. Reid
Number of players: 2 to 6
Colditz / Escape from Colditz
A big box containing everything to bring you in the mood of a prisonerscamp. The rules are in a pamphlet which says not to escape. The pawns and cards are in a red cross parcel. Furthermore there is a booklet with the history and pictures from Colditz. The gamecomponents consist of a large gameboard with a map of the castle. There are 16 pawns for the German guard and 8 pawns for everyone of the 5 prisonersgroups. In total 96 playing cards, split into civilian necessaries, escaping equipment, luckcards for the prisoners, luckcards for the guards and the all-or-nothing cards. A handy information-card and 2 dice.
Urlaubsschein (permission pass)
The goal: The guard (1 of the players) tries to prevent the other players from getting their goal. The other players are groups of prisoners trying to let escape a predestined numbers of prisoners in a certain amount of time. They have to collect civilian necessaries (to survive after they have escaped) and the actual escaping equipment. The prisoners have to cooperate to a certain level, but off course they try to escape as the first one. Playing the prisoner is the best part of the game, but playing the guard can be rewarding too. You can build a reputation and the longer you're unbeaten, the more exciting the next games will be.
20 meter high wall - underground passage
The means: When it's a players' turn, he throws 2 dice. The total amount of points can be split among every pawn he owns. The pawns may move in any direction, but not through other pawns. Tip: You can add the rule that you may pass whenever you get permission to pass. The German guard has also the possibility to move a pawn from his barracks to a black dot at the cost of 1 point.
civilian necessaries - 10 meter rope - pliers
Equipment: On the gameboard there are different rooms. In the rooms are objects. Every object is twice on the board. As soon as a player has two of his prisoners in rooms with the same object, he gets the object. For the civilian necessaries you have to be in 4 rooms at the same time. As soon as the prisoners got the card, they directly go to the roll-call place. Tip: You can add the rule that this will take place at the start of his next turn. This gives the guard some time to react.
Escaping: At different places there is an opportunity to escape. At these places you need most of the time special objects. As soon as a prisoner want to pass such a place, he has to turn in the card of that specific object. Tip: You can add the rule that the object stays on that place, until the guard removes it, so other prisoners can use it in the meantime (for example an unlocked door stays unlocked until the guard closes it again). You can mark this with a chip. Examples are a key, a rope (of even two ropes), a passport, pliers... If you don't have the object, you can't pass, unless you can trade it quickly with another prisoner. When a prisoner reaches the endzone, he has escaped if he has his civilian necessaries !
a searchlight - freedom
Specials: With a dieroll of 3, 7 of 11 you may draw a luckcard. Every player may keep 3 cards. These cards offer the prisoners (or the guard) many opportunities. The card may be traded or given away. On the gameboard there are some specials fields where the prisoners are safe, or for example searchlights in which the prisoners never may stand still.
Guards: The guard can arrest prisoners whenever they possess escapingequipment, or when they are outside the inner court. If a prisoner is arrested, he is put into an isolationcell. When he throws doubles, he may release one of his prisoners. Tip: You can add the rule that released prisoners directly may go to the roll-call place to avoid some guard tactics. If the prisoner was caught in a room, he has to turn in an equipment card and if he was caught outside, he has to turn in all of his equipment ! The arresting guard has to return to his barracks. Prisoners can be voluntarily arrested by walking into a guard. This way a guard is temporary away ! Tip: You can add the rule that the roll-call place is safe for all prisoners. The guard can decide not to throw the dice and sound the alarm. All guards from the baracks may go to black dots on the board.
The end: The game ends if one of the prisoners succeeds in his task or if the time is over. At the start of the game all the prisoners get an all-or-nothing card. It gives a number of throws, but the card can only be looked at, when it's used. The prisoner gets the number of throws to escape starting on the roll-call place and using every possible route. If he fails, his team had failed and he is out of the game.
Valuation: With a few minor changes this is a really nice game to play. Escpecially when all the players have played it more than once and know all the possibilities, it will be a hard struggle against the guards. Many fake-escapes go on and on and than somewhere will start a real escape. As soon as this escape is going on, the other prisoners get more room to start their escape. The guard can only throw the dice once, while all the prisoners get their turn. So it's impossible for the guard to chase everyone. So the guard has to prevent this from happening. Exciting.
Strategy for the guard: It is important to cut all attempts as soon as possible. Delay the getting of equipment by blocking all the entrances, so the prisoners have to offer some voluntary arrests. Than place some guards nearby the isolationcells, to prevent the prisoners from returning to their group whenever they are released. This tactic almost destroys the game and can only be avoided when the prisoners cooperate perfectly. So I advise to give released prisoners the possibilty to return to the roll-call place when released. And don't forget to place some guards in the barracks in case you need some fast backup.
Strategy for the prisoners: The better the prisoners cooperate, the faster the holes in the German defense will occur. One prisoner can sacrifice his turns by placing his men in safe places and collecting all the equipment from the other players. This prevents the loss of equipment when somebody gets arrested. And when the equipment is needed, he gives it to the escaping person. This tactic is too effective, so I advise the rule that you can give away equipment only at the end of your own turn. The real preparation for escaping is coordination. One group collects the civilian necessaries, the other some equipment and so on. The escapes has to be coordinated (like in the real thing). The more escape-attempts start at the same time, the more likely one or more will succeed. Go running with 2 prisoners at the same time, so one man can block the guard. And when he is arrested, the guard has to return to his barracks. The best escapes are the ones that look harmless. So when 2 prisoners start to use the passage in the chapel, little attention will be paid to the prisoner using some rope on the wall. Be prepared to use this opportunity !