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Volume 5121

Tarzan to the Rescue Board Game
Rules and interpretation thereof
By John "Bridge" Martin

The Milton Bradley board game, Tarzan to the Rescue, was copyrighted by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., in 1977 and may have been issued due to the popularity of the Filmation Tarzan animated television program which aired from 1976 to 1980. 

The art on the box, though, shows a wavy-haired Tarzan as opposed to the Filmation Tarzan with the straighter hair. Also, the art on the game box lid shows Tarzan with a leopard skin loincloth while Filmation Tarzan’s loincloth was a solid brown. 

In an online discussion of the game art, fan Steve Allsup of Arkansas pointed out that the Tarzan on the box lid may have been deliberately made to look different from the television version so no royalties would have to be paid to the Filmation producers. Allsup also pointed out that Tarzan was “alive” elsewhere at the time, “reborn anew in the Marvel comic books, drawn by John Buscema -- who was kind of a combination of the Joe Kubert and Russ Manning  styles. In addition, all the Tarzan paperbacks were still in print and dominating the science fiction isles of bookstores in 1977.” And, he adds, there was a Boris Tarzan calendar for 1978!

  “Tarzan to the Rescue” is probably not a game that would interest an adult very long, but it’s an easy game to teach and enjoy with young children. The box lists the game as appropriate for children 8 to 14 but younger ones can easily play with adult supervision. 

  There are some flaws in the rules. It's not a complicated game and yet you can get into some situations not covered by the rules. You would think board game inventors would play the games more often and catch all the questions that are going to come up and have answers for them in the rules. What you end up doing is "interpreting" some of the rules, which is code for making some things up as you go along. 

  The rules are printed on the underside of the box lid. If, however, your game is missing the boxtop, or it’s torn, I’m repeating the rules below, along with commentary.

  Beneath the rules under the boxtop is printed the number 4712, which I imagine is some kind of a product number. 

  There is a Canadian version of the game, reports ERB fan Dr. Stanley A. Galloway, Professor of English at Bridgewater College in Virginia. The title on the Canadian box is “Tarzan to the Rescue” with the French words “a la rescousse” added. In the Canadian version, the rules are not printed on the inside of the box lid but, apparently, on a separate sheet of paper (this is assumed, since the game in Prof. Galloway’s possession is missing any rules at all).

  Needed to play game: four pawns, two dice, and the Tarzan spinner. If you’re missing any of the gear, you can easily use pawns and dice from another board game; if you’re missing the Tarzan spinner, you probably need to go to ebay and find a replacement! 

Here are the rules:
(For 2 to 4 Players)

There is a legend that is whispered by the natives, that rising from the plains beyond the great jungles, a golden temple appears. Could this legend be true? A group of scientists hoping to find the answer start their long trek, each trying to be the first to arrive at the Golden Temple. Many times they will become side-tracked and their cause will seem hopeless. They call on Tarzan to come to the rescue when their path is blocked.

OBJECT: Be the first to find the Golden Temple.

1. Each player chooses a pawn of his color, and each player rolls the dice. High dice goes first and starts on a path in any lane he wishes. Others follow in turn clockwise. 
(Comment: There are only three starting lanes, yet the game is for up to four players. I guess this means you don't put your pawns down until you've rolled the dice for your first turn, and then you count the starting block as square one. The rule says "each player chooses a pawn of his color." Maybe that means that you have to be a Thark to choose the green pawn and a red Martian or Apache to choose the red one, and so on. Perhaps a flesh-colored pawn is needed for the rest of us!)

2. Each player in turn must follow this sequence.
(a) First move your pawn along the path for the full count of EITHER one of the dice. Pawns cannot be moved backward.
(b) Second, move any opponent's pawn for the count of the other dice. You may, if it is to your advantage, use either the high or low count of the dice, but you must move your own pawn first.

3. (a) You may move your pawn ONE lane to the right or left to an empty space, during any part of your dice count, to pass another player or gain a path advantage.
     (b) You may not change lanes more than once during the same turn. (Your own pawn may change a lane and the opponent's pawn, you move, may change a lane in one turn.)
     NOTE: Try to move your pawn into the clear path and your opponent's pawn into the dangerous side paths. 

4. A player may not pass a red space on the path without calling for Tarzan. You may call for Tarzan on your next turn.

5. (a) TO CALL FOR TARZAN: Open cover on Tarzan spinner. Spin the disc and wait for spinner to stop. Close the cover. If all white shows through the opening on the front cover of the spinner, Tarzan can not help you in this turn. Any color showing Tarzan helps you. 

(Comment: My spinner’s background color is yellow, not white. If any part of the Tarzan design or surrounding foliage is visible, I consider that to be “Tarzan.”

     (b) If Tarzan does not help you, you must wait until your next turn and call for Tarzan again. 

(Comment: This might be a bit too strict and frustrating for small children. When I play it with young people, we just spin once to see if Tarzan will help. If he doesn’t, then that particular turn is lost, but the player goes ahead and rolls the dice on the next turn without having to call for Tarzan again.)

6. If you are blocked by another player ahead on any path and you cannot use the full count of one dice, you cannot move. You must, however, move an opponent's pawn for the count of one dice. 

(COMMENT: There are going to be times when it is impossible to move the opponent's pawn, too. For instance, if your opponent is sitting on a red square, he is not allowed to move until Tarzan rescues how can you move him? The opponent on the red square might also be blocking an opponent behind him. The rules do not say whether or not one piece can "jump" another piece. It would seem that, in order for the game to flow properly, you would have to be able to jump an opponent, but you could not occupy the same space as an opponent. That's the way I play it!)

7. You may take the danger path at any time by your own choice, if you find the way blocked and trust Tarzan can help you.

8. The first player at the Golden Temple by exact count wins the game. 

(Comment: It doesn't say whether the last white square counts as the Golden Temple, or whether the temple itself represents the "last square." So, your choice!).


The small square item is the Tarzan spinner.
The “pawns” appear to be shaped like the Golden Temple.

See the Episodes Titles for the
Tarzan Filmation Series in ERB-TV


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