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Sunday 17 June 2012

The Therapy Zone

Throw A Six To Escape!

    The image on the right is of the refurbished, and re-jigged 'Prisoner' board game from 2007, the original having been launched in July 1993. So it was with a keen eagerness that I purchased the board game, however I have to admit that I have only ever played this "Prisoner Board Game" once. This because, as No.6, I found it all to easy to escape the village, once having become the "New No.2."
   The game is devised for between 2 and 6 players aged 15 years and over, and is a cross between something like Cluedo and Monopoly, with elements of other popular board games thrown in.
   At the outset each player is issued with "A B & C" cards containing vital information, which is unique to each player, on why he or she resigned, what secret he or she held, and what he or she intended to do next. Plus 35 work units with which to buy "escape tokens" or to pay forfeits.
   The object, quite naturally is to escape from the village, by boat, helicopter or truck, via the Fall Out tunnel. However, you cannot mount an escape attempt unitl you pick up a full set of "escape tokens" for one of the three routes out of the village.
   The board is made from heavy duty plastic and has to be held down by weights at four corners, otherwise it will simply roll itself up. But is colourfully laid out in red and green, with a black and white background and is faithful to the layout of the real village of Pormeirion.
   Players start from the Pavilion and move around the board in a clockwise direction on the throw of a dice, hopefully picking up "escape tokens" along the way. You can also land on forfeit circles, in which you miss a go or pay out work units, and "Tally Ho" squares when you pick up "Tally Ho" cards and carry out instructions thereon. These can be favourable, as in collecting extra work units, or unfavourable, such as missing a turn. there is also a "bartering area"  in which players can swap "escape tokens" if desired. However if you land on any of three spots around the board, you become the "New No.2" and move to the Green Dome. As No.2 when your turn comes round , you ask questions of one of your opponents in a bid to discover their "A B and C" secrets. And by a process of elimination, like attempts to discover the murderer and weapon used in Cluedo, No.2 can then attempt, during the course of the game, to expose an opponent by correctly identifying all his or her secrets, thus eliminating him or her from the game.
    Obviously the game works best with four or more players, and can take a couple of hours or more to reach a conclusion, to escape! On the debit, side it is much easier to win the game by eliminating your opponents via the position of the "New No.2" than it is to escape. One other minor criticism of the game is that the "board" could have been laid out better. There are large white areas which could have been better utilised in the design of the game. And the processional route taken by players is somewhat cramped. Plus there are elements of the village which are included on the board but for decorative purposes only, by that I mean they take no active part in the game, which seems to me to be a pity.

However there have been two further 'Prisoner' Board games, one in 1998 produced by Sci-Fi magazine Cult TV. 
The late lamented SF magazine CULT-TV published the Prisoner board game. Based around the now rather quaint throw-a-dice-and-move principle, the game was never-the-less 100% Prisoner and incorporated some delightful moves, such as "You're invited to play the Knight in a game of human chess. Take two steps in any direction followed by one back" and "Number Two spikes your coffee. Miss two turns."
    The board 11" in diameter was printed in the magazine, along with Penny Farthing counters which you could cut out and stick onto card. The object of the game was to progress in a clockwise direction around the board according to throws of the dice and collect four matching Penny Farthing pieces along the way.
    Your progress is helped or hindered by instructions printed on the square you land on, and by the Rover counter which circled the board (anti-clockwise) and made you miss turns if you were unlucky enough to land on the same square. Once you'd collected all the pieces, you had to make a dash for the Green Dome. First one there wins the game!
And a third, the date of which I do not know.
The Prisoner’ was a popular TV show, and a card/board game based on the show and published by UK sggc Card Board Games. You go around the board trying to find the items you need to escape.


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