Vintage Fun with Ran!

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.

Vintage Fun With Ran DDR Spiel SPIKA

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.

A cheating version

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.

vintage fun with Ran GDR Board Game

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 …

This post is dedicated to the most wonderful Vintage Toy Adviser. If you are into Super Heros, Star Wars, Comics, old ads or anything vintage and the many things inbetween, please do youself a favor, click this link and show some love.

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16 thoughts on “Vintage Fun with Ran!

    1. The history is really ineresting. SPIKA itself ran from 1964 but is intertwined with producers dating back to 1931 or 1879 respectively. SPIKA tried to keep going after the wall came down but closed doors in 1993. Finally, the publishing house Anaberg-Bucholz was restarted in 2016 with SPIKA as a trademark. In 2019 they released their first licensnsed game with Sandmann, lieber Sandmann. So it looks as if it’s going well.

  1. Two years ago I went to opera performances in Annaberg-Buchholz and in Chemnitz. Both theaters were going strong then. I hope they will survive the coronavirus shutdown.

  2. Interesting post! Glad you’re making up your own rules, that is quite often so much more fun. I add my voice to praising the Vintage Toy Advertiser, too! I’ve been digging out jigsaw-puzzles – as not enough players in the house. Very calming!

    1. Kudos!!! Jigsaw Puzzles make me more frustrated than calm 😉 But with kids I’m giving it a new go now. We’re up to 500 pieces, which is nothing for pros but a big step here …

  3. Ha, that is so cool! Love the graphics on it. And thanks for the dedication 🙂 🙂
    You rock!
    At first glance I thought it was snakes and ladders but with firemen, but it’s quite unique. Yes, unforgivable they didn’t depict at least one cat stuck in a tree 🙂
    Making up rules: As a kid I had this military game which was very complex – no dad about or elder brothers, I made up my own rules. Playing against myself I was always certain of a win.
    Thanks again, I love seeing these old board games.

    1. I am so glad that you like it! The fun thin about this game is that you really have to think about it to fill all tiles on the board (plus our version is not aboout winning but laying well…) I just really though, you might appresciate it. Catch you on the flipside

      1. If I think back to all the board games I had as a child I could easily start collecting them all out of nostalgia and a love for their graphics and fun playing pieces.
        So glad you thought of lil old me for this post 🙂 Catchya soon yes!

      1. Grabbed the last one in the world on sale, it seems, thanks to you, after years of looking for my little piece of nostalgia! Thank you again!!

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