Image from Graphics Fairy
THE GAME OF PRISONER.
Youngsters Who Play It Become Clever Geographers.
An interesting game when young folk come together is the escape from prison.
It requires children who are clever in geography. It is a lesson in the disguise of pleasure.
The game proceeds after this fashion: A map is held by a judge, usually a grown person or an older child. Then two children are chosen and placed in separate corners.
Says the judge: “Now, Carrie, you represent New York in this corner, and, Richard, you are in Moscow, imprisoned; you want to get away and reach home by Thanksgiving day. You have gotten from behind the walls, but what is your most direct route home?”
Then Richard has to tell each sea, country and ocean he crosses to get home for the turkey and cranberry sauce. If he can’t do it successfully he must remain right on the spot in the floor where he stopped until he thinks out his escape.
Image of Ofuna – Secret POW camp – Yokohama from Amazing Stories
Other members of the game are placed in prisons at various parts of the country. The favorite jails are now located in China and Japan on account of the interest aroused during the late war. A leading question is: “If you were put in a Yokohama prison, how would you get back to Peking?”
Soon the room becomes filled with prisoners, all trying to get home. Half of them are “stalled” in the center trying to think of the boundary line which brings freedom; others are just leaving the prison walls.
When the game has been played frequently, those who join in get very familiar with the junction of countries, and learn many straight lines and clever jumps that had not appeared feasible before. For those who are not quite conversant with geography, easy tasks are given; for instance, to be placed in a Paris prison and find their home in Boston.
Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Feb 2, 1899
Image from Brie Encounter
Nowadays, what are the chances of children even being able to find Paris on a map, let alone figure out how to get from there to Boston?