(The Board) Games People Play: #10, Escape from Colditz

The Great Escape… from the comfort of your dining room table

Monday 03 January 1983

Take a bow Messrs Szabo, Derbyshire, and Wagstaffe: you all made my day. After a drab Yuletide, you gave us three goals of the highest quality. Well worth the short walk. So much so I decided to sneak into The Fleece Inn for a quick half. The barperson caught me trying to order a pint of Carling Black Label. So I put on my finest Reverend Ian Paisley voice and that didn’t work (that’s the acne for you). Couldn’t do the Sunny Rose Café: closed for Bank Holiday Monday.

If anyone can find a way of ducking out of ‘O’ Level Mathematics, I will love you forever. Perhaps I could get served in The Fleece Inn by forming a pop group. Could Escape From Mr. Morris be harder to get out of than that castle which Anthony Valentine featured in?

Escape From Colditz

Firstly, let’s clear up this myth: the board game Escape From Colditz has nothing to do with the BBC television series starring Anthony Valentine (Colditz, 1972 – 1974). (And no, Anthony Valentine is not related to the creator of East of the M60). The board game’s height of popularity was coincidental. It was co-designed by Major PR Reid and Brian Degas. Major PR Reid was also one of the few people to have escaped from Colditz Castle. Both Major Reid and Mr. Degas worked with the series’ producer Gerald Glaister (and Brian was its co-creator).

With an intimate knowledge of the castle itself, the board itself is a plan view of Colditz Castle. You could either play as Allied Escape Officers (plotting your escape), or as the German Security Officer. If trying to escape, your aim is to dodge your opponents. Sounds simple? In reality, it isn’t due to potential obstacles.

Of the board games we have covered so far, this is one of only two you can still buy today. Escape From Colditz was revived by Osprey Games in 2016. It is all yours for the princely sum of £34.99. Here’s a YouTube clip from the publishers which does a better job of explaining the rules than this entry.

S.V., 10 December 2017.

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