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Escape from Colditz» Forums » General

Subject: What are the guards supposed to do? rss

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I may have missed something blindingly obvious or misunderstood the rules, but I have the following problem with this game:

There is a period of about an hour during which the POWs collect their escape equipment/kit. My experience was that, through careful choice of movement, the allies can ensure that they spend virtually all of their time either in a room, a safe zone, or an appel space. Since the POWs can't be arrested in the appel spaces or safe zone, and since the guards cannot do anything in rooms without the appropriate security card, the guards team spent the first hour of the game with pretty much nothing to do.

Did others have a similar experience? Is there some way to make this game more interesting for the guards player?
 
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Rob McDougall
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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It's been a while since I played, but my recollection is that the German player can use the guards to impede the allied movement (blocking the shortest paths so that the prisoners have to go around them).
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Martí Cabré

Terrassa
Catalonia, Spain
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For the guard it's not much fun during this part of the game, true.
You can try to catch a prisoner out of a safe zone, or block short passages to rooms to make them walk longer distances, etc. It's an old game that was not polished to be always fun for everybody. You can create some house rules like more arrests or starting the game with all players having escape kits, to cut to the good part.
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Daniel Burkley
United States
Hillsborough
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This will depend on the victory conditions and time limit agreed to by the players. If there is a time limit, the guards can get in the way of the prisoners to delay them from getting their escape kit. If prisoners claim equipment prior to getting their escape kit, arrest them. An early Appel card can chase prisoners back to center court, forcing a team or two to start over.

The rules have changed over time from the original edition. In the original version, there was no restriction on the German player on where guards could be placed (except blue spaces and tunnel spaces), so a German player could block off rooms and the corridor to Solitary. The German player was also the final arbiter to interpret the rules. We played with the interpretation that if a prisoner stopped on a yellow space after a doubles roll, the German player could arrest him immediately if he noticed this before the prisoner rolled the dice again. A "shoot to Kill" could be used against a prisoner outside the castle anywhere, even in a blue space.
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Thanks for the replies. I was thinking of a house rule along the following lines (still a bit fuzzy, and not yet play tested):

* Makes some little round counters for tracking the location of escape equipment.

* Once claimed in the usual fashion, escape equipment must be carried by a POW.

* A POW can carry max 2 pieces of equipment at any time.

* Equipment can be exchanged between POWs on adjacent spaces. (Optional: play with the counters face-down so that guards have a hard time telling what equipment is being carried by whom--one could even introduce blank diversion tokens).

* If a POW is arrested whilst carrying equipment then that equipment is confiscated.

* Rope must be left behind once used. Other escapees can use the rope to climb the same wall, but may not move the rope elsewhere. The rope can be removed (confiscated) by a guard who moves onto the rope space.

* If more equipment is needed to make an escape than one man can carry then the POWs are going to have to escape as a group to share the burden. If the guy carrying those wire-cutters you need gets arrested then too bad!

* Any piece of claimed equipment can be "hidden" by the POWs in any room. This mitigates the need to carry it around (and risk having it be confiscated). Hiding equipment is achieved by having a POW carry the equipment to the room and leaving it there. Equipment can never teleport to where it is needed, so someone has to go back to the room to collect it when the time comes to make an escape.

* If the security officer has a card to search a room then he automatically confiscates any equipment hidden in that room.

Other optional ideas:

* Guards can enter the officer's quarters, orderlies' quarters, and guard house. POWs caught in these rooms may be arrested.

* Confiscated equipment is stored in the officer's quarters, orderlies' quarters, or guard house an can be reclaimed by a canny POW who is prepared to run in there and grab it.

* There is a limited supply of each type of equipment (to create an imperative to try to reclaim confiscated equipment).
 
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Another idea that I had, which may not be very realistic for the Colditz setting, but is at least in keeping with the broader POW theme, is to introduce work details.

Roughly, a small number of POWs would be required to perform some task in the Kommandatur. For example, several POWs might be required to "carry boxes" from the room between the German barracks into the stores. This would be achieved by having those POWs walk between the two locations each turn. The guards would be kept busy ensuring these POWs do not make an escape attempt whilst outside of the main courtyard (but how can one devise a rule about when it is fair to arrest them?)
 
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Martí Cabré

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A bit too complex, I think

Having tokens for the equipment and carry it would be super, though.

Many problems would disappear if there was a German 'arrest' card and the Guard could only arrest prisoners by playing that card. Thus prisoners would never know if they would be arrested while carrying escapr equipment or if the time was safe to walk around.
 
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John Speelman
Canada
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Stand in doorways and block entrance to rooms
When a player moves next to him and "Assaults" him, The Player goes to jail and the Guard goes to Barracks.
 
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Michel Ney
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Positioning the guards so that when an appel is played it has maximum effect is pretty much the most important thing you can do in the early game.

I dusted this off recently and we used a house rule where instead of teleproting back to the appel area, the prisoners had to carry the stuff back into the appel area to actually get the items. This meant that the guard had to be well positioned and the prisoners often would have to wait till they get a good roll before trying to run back.

But it's really just about cycling through cards, using search cards as much as possible, and then preparing for the eventual runs.
 
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