Wednesday, November 13

The Red Box

New & revised rules, updated 10-14-13

The American and British forces are locked in battle during the War of 1812. Victory is not guaranteed for either side at this stage.

Some time back, British Intelligence devised a secret plan that could potentially win the war for England against her enemies in France and America. Plans and schematics were laid out and placed in a locked Red Box for transport across the Atlantic to the British commanders on the American front.

A week ago, the ship carrying the Red Box was intercepted by an American cutter and captured. The Red Box was given over to an American military unit for safe transport to American Military Intelligence in Washington.

What the box contains is known to be of great import, but its exact contents are a mystery. The Crew of the HMS Acasta have been tasked with recovering the Red Box and keeping its contents a secret.


The goal of the American Forces is to retain possession of the Red Box and to capture the key from the British Navy man who is in possession of the keys to the box.

Goals for the Acastas are to get possession of the Red Box while maintaining possession of the keys to the box.

Once either team gets possession of both the Red Box AND the keys to it, the game is over and the team that holds both items wins, and may open the Red Box to divvy up its enigmatic contents in whatever manner they see fit.


The American Forces start the game in possession of the locked Red Box and the Acastas start the game in possession of the key to the box. A 'start time' shall be agreed upon by both teams, at which time the game continues until one team captures both the Box and the Key, or the event ends and both teams are in a draw.

Rules for the RED BOX:

The Red Box must be displayed in front of the American Commander's tent in plain sight and may not be hidden inside of tents or other personal/private areas or obscured/covered by other objects. The Red Box is considered a great prize and the American Commander displays it as a morale boosting, rallying point for his troops.

The Americans may not pick the lock on the box or otherwise cause it to be opened without the proper key from the Acastas. It is rumoured that British Intelligence may have booby-trapped the box in some manner, and it is feared that tampering with the lock might damage the important contents.

Other than that, the American Forces may take what steps they see necessary to keep the Red Box safe (posting guards, booby traps, etc.)

Rules for the KEY:

The Key to the box must be in the possession of one of the Acastas at all times. The key will be passed off to one of the Acastas before the officially agreed upon start time for the game and remain in his custody until the game is over or it is discovered by the Americans. The Key may not be passed from Navy man to Navy man, it must remain in the possession of ONE Acasta at all times.

The key may be hidden in almost any of the Acasta's clothing, hat, coat, waistcoat, shirt, shoes/boots or other exterior garments. It may also be placed in a haversack, market wallet (or other similar item), as long as it remains with them at all times.

It may not be hidden in the Acasta's pants or pants pockets, as those are reserved for the reenactor's private items, car keys, wallet, money etc. Acastas do not have to submit to a search of their breeches or trousers.

Acastas must try their best to avoid falling into the custody of the American Forces, if a UNIFORMED and armed American approaches and wishes to search you, you must submit to their requests.

OBJECTIVES (or: "Why play the Red Box?")

As a first person style interpreter, I have always been somewhat disappointed in the lack of first person opportunities at events. To that end, I have created a series of scenarios/games to play in order to give the Acastas period appropriate things to do at events, and opportunities to do some of the 'first person' that I enjoy so much. It livens things up for both the public and for ourselves.

Most recreated military units don't have much to think about, or do, between battles. They tend to just go back to camp and sit around, waiting for the next battle.

The Red Box game is a costumed version of 'Capture the Flag' played at an event. The point of the game is to give Americans and Acastas a scenario to work around.

Think about what it will be like for the public as they encounter us playing the game: American Soldiers in camp and doing guard duty or questioning people who enter camp, British Navy officers creeping around the edges of the American camp with spy glasses, American riflemen patrolling the shops, stopping and searching British Sailors in the streets, Court martials of captured British officers and then putting them up before a firing squad.

There are so many excellent opportunities for period correct, first person interpretation that can be brought about by the inclusion of the 'Red Box' scenario at an event.

The Red Box is not intended to be a light-hearted farce or a campy romp. Remember that both sides are struggling to control the contents of the Box in an effort to turn the tide of the war in their favour. The fate of the war could hang in the balance, and the game should be played thusly.


  1. The Red Box is barking brilliant. Reading here about the Acastas' exploits with the Box brings us all into the experience. Thanks to whomever created the "game"!

    1. I'm the one who created the Red Box game... with a little help from Lt Ramsey and my man, Mr Vassermann. Thanks for the compliments, glad you enjoyed it! :)

  2. That sounds like fun! I may have to try and adapt the game for a party someday, if you wouldn't mind?


    1. Oh absolutely not, I wouldn't mind at all! Just be sure to let us know how your adaptation works out. :D