Growing up in the 80's there were a load of great cop shows to watch on T.V. one of my favourites was Kojak, it was gritty, and unlike our British cop shows, American Detectives had guns!
While I enjoyed the punch ups our T.V crime fighters dished out on a variety of villains, there was something so alluring about the idea of living in a big city like New York and going on wild car chases, waving guns and saying things like "Book 'em Daddio", "say it to the judge" or in the case of Kojak "Who loves ya baby" while taking them "Down Town to get Booked" that found it's way into our pretend games far easier than anything The Sweeney or Body & Doyle from The Professionals had to offer.
The best thing was if you wanted to play at being Kojak all you needed was a plastic gun, a pair of sunglasses (optional) and a lollipop!
A few years back I found another way to play Kojak, when I happened upon a board game version of the series from 1975. Of course, I just had to get my hands on it and give it a go!!
The game is for 2 to 4 players who play the role of a Detective in the Manhattan South Precinct. The Detective counters take the form of two colour coded cars; choose from Red, Yellow, Green or Blue, which you move around the board as you hunt one of the 4 Criminal counters; also coloured Red, Blue, Yellow and Green.
The idea is that 4 serious crimes have been committed and a file for each has been opened at the precinct; these are also colour coded: The Red File concerns a Bank Raid, The Yellow File a Political Corruption case, The Blue File a string of scams by a team of Confidence Tricksters and The Green File is a case of a Gangland Killing.
To set up the board to begin the game, each of the the 4 Criminal Counters (also colour coded) are placed on one of the areas of the board marked Bank, Club House, City Hall and Hotel on the sections of that area denoted by a black dot.
The Detective cars are placed in the Down Town Car Park in the centre of the board at the start of the game, the person with the highest number on the dice begins the game by travelling in a clockwise direction around the board until they reach the Contact Card Room, this is where you collect your assignment.
After you receive your assignment you are able to draw Trap cards which will assist you in catching the Criminal you have been assigned to arrest. You will also need a Warrant card to do this.
Once you have the correct cards to capture your Criminal you can proceed around the board until you get to one of the 4 buildings in which your Criminal is hiding. When you get there you Stake Out the building while the Criminal moves to a position in the building denoted by the red area in which you are able to arrest them.
Once your Criminal is caught you return to the Down Town Car Park and start again, until all the Criminals are captured. The winner is the Detective who makes the most number of arrests.