Get Out of P.O.W. Camp Free?

A few weeks back we linked to a blog post describing the optimal strategy in the game Monopoly.

This fascinating article by Brian McMahon describes how the game of Monopoly was used during World War II to aid in the escape of Allied POWs.

(Is it just me, or does it seem from reading the story that this was an incredibly risky strategy — the Monopoly boxes contained maps that showed where Allied safe-houses were located within Nazi controlled areas. Wouldn’t it be a disaster if some of these maps were confiscated by the Nazis? Allied soldiers who were going off to fight were being told to look out for the specially-marked Monopoly boxes. All you needed was one traitor or P.O.W. to confess under torture, and the Nazis would know to intercept the Monopoly games.)

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  1. Toni says:

    If I were stuck in a Nazi POW camp, it’s a chance I’d be willing to take. I’m sure it was nothing like Hogan’s Heros.

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  2. Toni says:

    If I were stuck in a Nazi POW camp, it’s a chance I’d be willing to take. I’m sure it was nothing like Hogan’s Heros.

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  3. HM says:

    Interesting post about Allied use of monopoly games. Here is what the strategy piece about monopoly misses: there are a fixed number of houses in the game, so buying the houses to prevent your opponent from being able to do so is a valuable strategy. While the author represents that three is the optimum number, this is variable depending on where opponents are in their development. If they have property with no houses but not enough cash to build hotels, it can be worth ‘monopolizing’ the houses.

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  4. HM says:

    Interesting post about Allied use of monopoly games. Here is what the strategy piece about monopoly misses: there are a fixed number of houses in the game, so buying the houses to prevent your opponent from being able to do so is a valuable strategy. While the author represents that three is the optimum number, this is variable depending on where opponents are in their development. If they have property with no houses but not enough cash to build hotels, it can be worth ‘monopolizing’ the houses.

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  5. Rico Suave says:

    Ironically enough, Steven, the Nazis were honorable enough to honor the Geneva Convention and not torture its POWs.

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  6. Rico Suave says:

    Ironically enough, Steven, the Nazis were honorable enough to honor the Geneva Convention and not torture its POWs.

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  7. Stephen says:

    The United States doens’t torture either, right? Let’s replace the word “torture”, with “acceptible non-torture interrogation techniques”.

    His point about a traitor still stands pat regardless. And I know its a different era, but you take a drafted 18 year old young man, and he’s in prison camp and scared, maybe he thinks he can get out if he offers up some piece of bargaining information. Treason has taken place under less extreme circumstances than Nazi prison camp.

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  8. Stephen says:

    The United States doens’t torture either, right? Let’s replace the word “torture”, with “acceptible non-torture interrogation techniques”.

    His point about a traitor still stands pat regardless. And I know its a different era, but you take a drafted 18 year old young man, and he’s in prison camp and scared, maybe he thinks he can get out if he offers up some piece of bargaining information. Treason has taken place under less extreme circumstances than Nazi prison camp.

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