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Escape from Colditz Castle» Forums » General

Subject: I invented Escape from Colditz rss

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Adrian Wild
United Kingdom
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My Name is Adrian Wild. I am the inventor of Escape from Colditz Castle. I invented the game whilst I was studying for my A levels. (Exams taken at around age 18-19 in the UK)

I come from a large family, having 7 brothers and sisters. So I guess you could say we had to invent our own fun. (My brothers also invented games, which never made it to the market.)

I was inspired to create the game having read P.R Reads book of the same name.

My father (R.J. Wild)was intrigued by the game, and being a canny soul decided that we should try to sell the game. Having hawked it around some of the major companies, he decided that the only way to get to market was to create some working copies.

Accordingly he employed a cousin to work on the graphics and box and develop the printing plates.

Armed with working copies he attended a couple of games fairs and met up with Ron Samson of Invicta, who immediately signed us up.

We had a terrific couple of years and as I recall sold around 130,000 copies. Unfortunately at that time Invicta also had a runaway success with Master Mind, which took all of Invictas resources and we were sidelined.

We were lucky in our launch year that a TV series about Colditz had been launched on BBC 1 a few months before we appeared on the scene, this must have helped our sales. Not so lucky was the emergence of the Parker Game "Colditz Castle" create/sponsored by PR Read himself. Happily Parker let us get on with life with challenging us.

So there you have it. My inventing career did not stop there, I went on to run my own building company for many years and eventually branched out into software development and created the Estimating and Project Management Software call HBXL (www.hbxl.co.uk).
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Re:I invented Escape from Colditz
When I was a kid - 15 or 16 - me and my brother used to regularly go gaming at a friend's house, and one of the games we enthused about was the "other" Escape from Colditz. We were also fans of the TV series. Our mum must have taken note of our enthusiasm because she picked up a copy from a jumble sale, only it turned out to be Escape from Colditz Castle. Perhaps we were to old for it, or it just wasn't our sort of game, but after a couple of plays it quickly disappeared into the attic and was never seen again.
 
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gary rembo
United Kingdom
brighton
Alaska
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HI,
Im gary. I invented Go...... Just kidding. I played both versions of escape from colditz and castle. I think yours was more a spin on ludo although I enjoyed it as a kid. The other was far deeper. Do you happen to know if the escape from colditz castle was released twice as I remember it having little plastic men and a saw one at a boot fare with plastic pawns. I thought it had had bits replaced and left it behind. Im kicking my self now.
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Anthony Simons
United Kingdom
Royal Wootton Bassett
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What an excellent anecdote, Adrian; I really appreciate your taking the time to convey to us the history of your game. You may be pleased to know I own a copy, but it is not the copy we played when I was very young - that belonged to a neighbour.
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Adrian Wild
United Kingdom
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Well thats a bit weird. I havent been back on this website for years... and I see you logged in a day or two ago! I just happened across it doing a search on my own name! (As I mentioned, I run a software company and was curious to see what else was attached to my name on the web.)

Yes, it often surprises me when I mention the game, just how many people played it. Glad you still have one....although I am sure by modern standards it now looks a bit "long in the tooth"...and a bit boring!!
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Tony Cutcliffe
United Kingdom
Paignton
Devon
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Thanks for the anecdote, Adrian; it is absolutely fascinating!

We used to play this game for hours on end. And I do mean hours. We still continued to enjoy it when we got the Parker game too; we even tried to integrate the two games so that you had to get out of the Castle ['gone away'] using the Parker game, and then make your trek across Germany for the 'home run' with your game. Wasn't very successful but we were only in our early teens....

Anyway after a lifelong interest in Colditz, inspired by a) the TV series, b) Reid's books, c) both the Colditz games, I made the trip to the Castle in May 2007 and again in March 2008. The results in all their glory can be seen at my Colditz website at www.virtualcolditz.com, although there's always more work to be done. I'm also a member of the Colditz Society. And finally I have a bid in on eBay for a copy of your game at this moment.....
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Adrian Wild
United Kingdom
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Hi Gary

Sorry about the delay in replying, I have only just escaped from work!.

Yes the game was produced in two variants. The first with my preferred 3D castle, then, I guess when the game took off, Invicata must have decided to cut their costs and produce a flat board version.(I dont remember being consulted on the design change!). We sold over 130,000 copies which was apparently regarded in those days as a best seller.

Yes, of course by modern standards it is a very simple game, but I think the risk-a-disk built into the board was a bit of an innovation back in 1972 as it introduced an analogue type uncertainty into the game that people seemed to enjoy. Now a days of course this uncertainty is introduced digitally on-screen.

I am afraid I cant help you with a replacement game as we only have a couple left ourselves.... one of which I bought on Ebay!
 
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Adrian Wild
United Kingdom
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Hi Tony

Well, pleased to hear that you spent hours playing it. Over the years I have met a surprising number of people who have played it. I suppose, even though we "only" sold 130,000 copies, maybe 10 people played each game....so I guess that would be 1.3 Million people! Quite amazing really (when I actually think about it!).

I too was inspired by PR Reid's book. I had a look at your website which is extraordinarly detailed, and must have take months to create.

If you have the floor plans, I could provide you with a copy of our PlansXpress software which would allow you to create a 3D virtual model that you could explore on Google Sketchup or Cortona. (I run a software company, HBXL, www.hbxl.co.uk). It would be fun to have a model of it on our site too when you have finished it.

Funnily enough I bought one of my copies on Ebay a couple of years ago as our own copies have been wrecked by our kids!

Finally, for your info we are currently trying to get our software into colleges for training young builders how to design and estimate using our software... so in a funny way we have a lot in common.
 
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Langdon Alger
Ireland
Galway
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This is a great game. My uncle has a copy of it and we used to play all of the time. Congrats.
 
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Neil Wilson
United Kingdom
bristol
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I just found a copy in my attic. Any takers ?
 
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Mike McCaw
New Zealand
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For anyone that follows this game, there is a copy for sale in New Zealand's version of ebay - trademe. Its going for NZ$150.

Link:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=462440760

Cheers

Mike
 
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