Ran is a Laying Game from the former GDR. This board game had been produced by VEB Plasticart Annaberg-Bucholz in Karl Marx Stadt [Chemnitz]; also known as Spielewerk Karl Marx Stadt. While SPIKA has been revamped, unfortunately Ran is not part of the range.
(Damn, I am really tempted to do a garden gnome version and I don’t think GDR copyright laywers would sue me for this. Would they?)
Unfortunately, our box is not in great condition but that really doesn’t spoil the game. Ran is loads of fun and you can get your hands on it for only 20 Euros on Ebay. Our board is in mint condition though and we have all 94 original playing cards.
There are three different types of cards. Firemen, ropes with bells and plain ropes. The bells dictate the orientation of the picture. Sometimes you have no choice but cheating.
If you study the boards closely, for some odd reason, many cards keep ending up in pretty much the same spot. There is also a shortage of cards going from left to top. Maybe 94 cards is simply not enough but I’m not blessed with math brain.
To be honest, we do not play this game according to the rules. Usually, every player gets a certain amount of cards. When someone puts a card down in a way that it becomes impossible to finish the game, you just keep playing. Once the player notices, she has to pick up all the cards that followed that move. Yawn.
We turned Ran into one of those games where it is not about winning. Instead, we like to lay down as many firemen as we can. Our record sits at 5 other cards. We also made up variations with dice and playing figures. I honestly adore this game.
The Ran game cost 6 Marks in what I suppose was the early 80s but it is most certainly worth a lot more than that. One site says this board game is from the 60s. Generally, the internet is not incredibly useful when it comes to questions about the former GDR.
For some odd reason (hey, it was different times) Ran lacks any female presence. I mean firewomen or firefightresess. Unless you count this girl.
The firemen also don’t save a single cat. I am not sure which fact is more disappointing. Looking at these guys, I’m not sure if they could actually put out a fire …
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