The Jolly Vagabonds

This paper and cardboard Dexterity puzzle was made by Luxus Papier Fabrik of Berlin probably around 1880. It is beautifully lithographed and being nearly 2 inches (5 cm) high, it is a miracle that it has survived.

Its survival is even more remarkable when you discover what fun it is to play with. Some doors and gates are too narrow for the policeman. The Inn has a half door which the tramps can easily get past but the stout policeman can get in but has to wait for the player to lift the door before he can continue the chase.

Chasing the tramps into the central prison requires both dexterity and forward planning.


The Instructions explain:-

An amusing Puzzle for Young and Old.

The interior of the Box represents a village. Two tramps have entered the village and are being chased by a stout policeman, anxious to catch and imprison them in the round tower.
The chase starts on the right bank of the river, close to the old stone gate.

The stout guardian of the peace (represented by the large marble) tries to drive the tramps (two small marbles) towards the tower.

This is not so easy as it looks for there are many ways of escape available to the slim and agile tramps, but utterly impassable by the stout policeman. If by chance the tramps run into the village inn, the pursuing policeman has a hard task, for although able to get in, he cannot get out, while the tramps can easily escape through the half open door. The policeman must calmly wait for the Landlord to open the door wide.

Even after tracking them up to the prison gate, the chase is not over and the policeman must be doubly watchful. On the right of the prison yard a narrow gate leads to the high road, just large enough for the tramps to squeeze through. If they succeed to escape by this gate, then "Good bye, Policeman".