When a game has been around that long, and fondly looked back on , it certainly has nostalgia appeal, and honestly was quite ahead of its time for mechanics in board games, in an era where monopoly was king by provided a cooperative experience as prisoners against the guards, and far more options and mechanics than typically found in a boardgame of the time.
Osprey Games are now bringing it back to life with a Deluxe addition, less of a remake more a loving tribute, with new rules, that keep the spirit of the original, but are tweaked and cleaner, and it also includes the original ruleset, so its almost 2 games for one!
Colditz Castle - World War II.
An impregnable fortress. An inescapable prison. Until now.
Designed by Major Pat Reid, one of only a handful of prisoners-of-war to escape Colditz Castle, and screenwriter Brian Degas, Escape From Colditz is the iconic game of careful planning and nerves of steel.
Become Allied escape officers - assemble your equipment, plot your escape routes, and coordinate your efforts to avoid the guards. Become the German security officer - maintain control through guile, ruthlessness, and careful observation despite limited numbers.
This deluxe edition of the classic game for 2 to 6 players includes both original and updated rules, new hand-painted artwork, an oversized board, 56 wooden playing pieces, 100 fully illustrated cards, a 32-page history book, and unique replicas of artifacts from the prison.
Seventy-five years ago, Major Reid braved barbed wire, searchlights, and armed guards to Escape from Colditz. Now it's your turn to do the same.
Devised by Major Reid, and Brian Degas. The Artwork is by the fantastic Peter Dennis, who i am sure you will be familiar with from the beautiful Osprey books, and Bolt Action.
Major Pat Reid, OBE, was a British Army officer and prisoner of war during World War II. Held in the infamous Colditz Castle, a Nazi prison designated for troublesome enemy combatants, he is one of the few prisoners who managed to escape. He is also the author of two books about his experience in Colditz, The Colditz Story and Latter Days at Colditz, which form the basis for the prison's lasting appeal in popular culture.Brian Degas is a script writer and producer, best known for his work on Barbarella, Danger: Diabolik, and the BBC's iconic Colditz series. A close friend of Pat Reid, they worked closely together to create recreate the tension and daring of Major Reid's escape, making Escape from Colditz a household name.Peter Dennis was born in 1950. Inspired by contemporary magazines such as Look and Learn he studied illustration at Liverpool Art College. Peter has since contributed to hundreds of books, predominantly on historical subjects, including many Osprey titles. A keen wargamer and modelmaker, he is based in Nottinghamshire, UK.
So lets pop this open... and take a look at what we get........
The game also includes the original rules....
From two to six players may take part in the game, one of which must always be the Germans; the others choose to be one of five nationalities (Allies) represented by different coloured playing pieces:
- Red: British
- Blue: American
- Brown: French
- Orange: Dutch
- Green: Polish
- 2 players: 8 prisoners plus 6 guards
- 3 players: 7 prisoners for each allied nationality plus 12 guards
- 4 players: 6 prisoners for each allied nationality plus 14 guards
- 5 players: 5 prisoners for each allied nationality plus 15 guards
- 6 players: 4 prisoners for each allied nationality plus 16 guards
The playing pieces are moved by the score on the throw of two dice. Doubles allow the player to an additional throw. No player is required to use any or all moves and the movement allowance can be split between two or more of his pieces. They cannot be saved for later turns or transferred to other players.
In order to escape, each prisoner must first obtain an "escape kit", composed of food, disguise, compass and forged papers by visiting various rooms in the castle or by using 'Opportunity Cards'. Once collected, this kit is not lost or expended.
Other equipment or materials must also be obtained in order for a player to make a successful escape attempt: wire cutters; lengths of rope; forged passes; and keys. These are gained, like the escape kit, by visiting rooms or using Opportunity Cards. Unlike the escape kit, these cards can be confiscated at certain times by the German player and once used are expended and placed back in the pile.
Opportunity cards (taken from a shuffled pile) are gained on a roll of 3, 7 or 11 (not counting rerolls due to double throws). These present the player with additional opportunities for escape. Some cards allow 'free' equipment to be gained (without visiting the rooms required). Additional cards allow players to use one of the three tunnels shown on the map, hide escape equipment to avoid confiscation, steal the Staff Car, move to safe hideaways, escape solitary or avoid being shot during an escape attempt. Players may keep their opportunity cards secret or secretly show each other their hands in order to assist each other's escapes.
On the German player's turn, a 3, 7, or 11 results in that player taking a 'Security Card' rather than an Opportunity Card. These allow the German player to undertake counter-escape actions, such as 'Shoot to Kill', 'Detect Tunnel', call an 'Appell' (a counting parade forcing all pieces back to starting positions), or perform searches.
Once used, Security and Opportunity Cards are discarded.
Playing pieces caught while escaping, in possession or equipment or found in unauthorized parts or the castle can be put in solitary (a series of rooms on the board) for a few turns to temporarily reduce the number of pieces available to the player. Pieces shot while attempting to escape are removed permanently.
The game is given a time limit or a target of escaped prisoners (usually the first to two) with the objective of the player operating the guards being to limit or stop the escape attempts.
A final option (used normally as the time limit comes to an end) is to perform a 'Do or Die'. A special card is taken which details how many die rolls are used (from three to seven 2-dice throws). These throws are made and summed (doubles again allow rerolls, no opportunity cards are taken) and if the result is enough to reach an escape target in a single bound (no escape equipment needed), then the escape is successful. If not, the entire team is removed from play.
With the choice to revel in classic nostalgia and play the classic rules you can do... though do not forget games of Escape from Colditz are not short play games, so make sure you set aside the time. I highly recommend the new rules though, it updates the game to the modern age and provides a very challenging multiplayer game that will have you adapting and trying to trick the guards.
Its beautifully presented, and deserves a place on your shelf for the fact that its such a loving tribute alone! of course the fact it contains an excellently reworked game is a bonus, it will provide you hours of entertainment, both in playing, and just looking at and enjoying the high quality components of the game. Well done Osprey!
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RRP of £49.99 you really need to add this classic to your shelves so head on over to your Local Game Store and escape with one yourself, though you may have to pay for it first!