First Impressions: Escape from Colditz 2016 version by Osprey Games

I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of the new reprint/revision of Escape from Colditz. I thought I would give you my first impressions of the game.

Please bear in mind that this is from my first game of this version and is only a first impression. A full review will follow after Essen after I get a handful of more plays under my belt, so I can give this a full, balanced review. I just wanted to get this on the website as several people have been asking about it on various forums.

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First Aid Kit

If you know nothing about the game, you have to Escape from Colditz. Wasn’t that helpful? No? Colditz was a prison camp in the Second World War and one player plays the German security officer and the other players take the role of an escape officer in charge of one of the nations interned there. Osprey have said in their rulebook that they wanted to stay close to the original and it wasn’t a full redesign.

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The unboxing

So what can I say when I opened the box? The components were very well done, the cards were in their own beautiful tuck boxes and the pawns were in a replica WWII first aid parcel. The board has had a makeover too and is a lot better for it. There are a couple of differences on the main board but not many.

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The new board

There was several rule changes, some have changed the game significantly, some did not. I need to give the rulebook a reread to make sure we didn’t get anything wrong, but I think that we got them all right.

One of the main differences is that you only draw an Opportunity/Security card when you roll a 5 or lower instead of 3, 7 or 11. The rules for tunnels have changed a lot and the tunnel in the Chapel has been shortened significantly, the big one for Security is that they can block certain routes whereas in the original they were forbidden, or I couldn’t see anything in the rulebook to prevent this, just that the Germans can’t finish on certain highlighted circles on the board. Plus the Germans have to remove the escape equipment used by an escape attempt, which are depicted by little tokens. If it is not cleared then it is there to be used again by that nation.

One other big rule was that POWs could not move through each other. We found this too restrictive during the game as it caused issues with logjams of POWs leaving the cells, so we ‘house ruled’ that POWs could pass each other except in tunnels. There was also a hard time limit of 50 turns (which could be shortened to 30 for expert escapers). This is tracked around the outside of the board.

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The German deployment of their guards was cunning. Good luck getting into the canteen quickly. The dark outlined circles is where the Germans could not finish their turn.

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Run my beauty, Run! The Germans have found the hole in the wire!

We played a 5 player game and it took 3 hours to play. Everyone really enjoyed it. The game was won on turn 43 by the Americans getting their 2nd POW away while all the other nations managed to get one away. The Germans were doing really well and foiling several escape attempts until several nations made a halfhearted bid at the same time which stretched the Germans. My other half commented after everyone had gone home that we were far more boisterous than usual and it sounded like we were having a whale of a time.

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The box

If you are at Essen and get chance, give this a look. It is getting a big thumbs up after the first play.

You can get more info including Pre orders at: https://ospreypublishing.com/escape-from-colditz

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