Backpacks and Blisters

Original © 1993 by Ragnar Brothers.

Modified for PBM by Howard Bishop 2002. These are the slightly modified rules used in Variable Pig.

Numbered Map (original game)

Numbered Map (More Backpacks)

F2F Rules - PDF of More Backpacks Rules

1.0 Basic Concept

1.1 Players start in Keswick and go walking for a day. The game starts at 10am and finishes at 6pm.

1.2 Walkers 'slow down' during the day - in the morning they have 4 cards in their hand, after lunch 3 cards, and after the coffee break two cards.

1.3 The aim of the game is to score as many points as possible, the winner being the person with most points at the end of the day. However, anyone failing to return to Keswick by 6pm loses all their points.

2.0 Set-up

2.1 At the start of the game 5 locations are randomly chosen as the walking targets for the day.

2.2 The weather at the start of the day is Sunny.

2.3 Each player starts the game with 4 walking cards.

3.0 Round Sequence

3.1 Each postal round consists of two 20 minute turns.

3.1.1 Information phase - Players are informed about the location of each of the other walkers, their replacement(s) card from the previous turn and the replacement card(s) they will get at the end of the turn 1. Movement priority order for the turns is also announced.

3.1.2 Turn 1 - Walkers are moved simultaneously (or in announced order if there is a conflict) according to the orders given (no tea can be drunk during Turn 1, all the waitresses are busy)..

3.1.3 Turn 2 - Walkers are moved simultaneously (or in announced order if there is a conflict) according to the orders given.

3.1.4 Rucksack vote - Players vote for the next carrier of the Heavy Rucksack (HR), as long as the present carrier has had the HR for 60 minutes or longer. This can happen between turns 1 and 2.

Postal round Turn sequence Points for finishing Special
Round 1 Turn 1 : 10:00 +3  
Turn 2 : 10:20 +3 Ferry rides
Round 2 Turn 1 : 10:40 +3 Bus rides
Turn 2 : 11:00 +3  
Round 3 Turn 1 : 11:20 +3 Ferry rides
Turn 2 : 11:40 +3 Bus rides
Round 4 Turn 1 : 12:00 +3  
Turn 2 : 12:20 +3 Ferry rides
Round 5 Turn 1 : 12:40 +3 Bus rides
Turn 2 : 13:00 +3  LUNCH 
Round 6 Turn 1 : 13:20 +3 Ferry rides
Turn 2 : 13:40 +3 Bus rides
Round 7 Turn 1 : 14:00 +3  
Turn 2 : 14:20 +3 Ferry rides
Round 8 Turn 1 : 14:40 +3 Bus rides
Turn 2 : 15:00 +3  COFFEE BREAK 
Round 9 Turn 1 : 15:20 +3 Ferry rides
Turn 2 : 15:40 +3 Bus rides
Round 10 Turn 1 : 16:00 +3  
Turn 2 : 16:20 +2 Ferry rides
Round 11 Turn 1 : 16:40 +1 Bus rides
Turn 2 : 17:00 -2  
Round 12 Turn 1 : 17:20 -4 Ferry rides
Turn 2 : 17:40 -6 Bus rides

4.0 Movement

4.1 Each Turn, a player plays a walking card for his walker and a route for the walker to follow. Each walking card has a certain number of triangles and circles on it. Each triangle allows you to move triangle along a path, each circle allows you to move one circle.

4.2 Triangles and circles may be played in any order. Not all triangles/circles have to be used, but they can't be carried over from one turn to the next.

4.3 The card just played is replaced from the deck as defined in the round sequence.

4.4 Walkers move in the order announced in the previous turn report, and this order rotates as the game progresses. So in turn 1, player A goes first, then player B then player C, etc. In turn 2 player B goes first through to player F going first in turn 6. This then repeats.

4.5 Only one walker can finish a turn on any particular small circle or triangle. If a walker moving after another on the rotating order tries to finish on an already occupied loation, they must stop one short instead. If that location is already occupied they must move back a further space, and so on.

4.6 Any number of walkers can occupy the Location spaces (large triangles/circles) at any time.

5.0 Scoring

5.1 Points are scored as follows:

5.1.1 ONE point - finishing a turn on a viewpoint (small black triangle) or beauty spot (small black circle).

5.1.2 VARIOUS points - finishing a turn at a Location (large triangles/circles - see also Secret Desires rule 11.1).

5.1.3 TEN bonus points - being first walker to reach one of the 5 targets<./p>

5.1.4 SEVEN bonus points - being second to reach a target.

5.1.5 FIVE bonus points - arriving at a target (but not 1st or 2nd).

5.1.6 FIVE points - taking a ferry trip.

5.1.7 THREE points - drinking a cup of tea.

5.1.8 FIVE points - carrying the Heavy Rucksack back to Keswick at the end of the day.

5.1.9 TWO points - carrying the Heavy Rucksack at start of Lunchtime.

5.1.10 TWO points - carrying the Heavy Rucksack at start of Coffee Break.

5.1.11 TWO points - for each 50p left at the end of the game.

5.1.12 VARIOUS bonus points for arriving back at Keswick early/penalties for getting back later.

5.2 Anyone who has not returned to Keswick by 6pm automatically loses the game.

6.0 Cafés

6.1 Walkers can either have a cup of tea and/or buy a bar of chocolate (50p for each).

6.2 Drinking tea takes a whole turn (but any number of cards can be discarded and replaced).

6.3 Chocolate is bought at the end of a turn (even if the walker moved to the café during that turn).

6.4 Chocolate is played at the start of a turn and doubles the number of triangles and circles on a card played that turn. Each bar can only be played once.

7.0 Lunch/Coffee Break

7.1 The 20 minute turns at 1pm and 3pm are special turns.

7.2 No walker can move. You must discard one card (without replacement).

7.3 The walker scores for the space (small/large triangle/circle) irrespective of whether he has already scored for that space. This is the only way you can score twice for the same space on consecutive turns (target bonuses can only be claimed once).

7.4 If you are at a café, you can replace as many cards as you like (after the initial one card discard). You can also buy and drink a cup of tea or buy chocolate.

8.0 Ferry Trips/Bus Rides

8.1 Instead of moving using the triangles/circles on a card, the walker may make a ferry trip or take a bus ride.

8.2 Although each ride costs 50p, you can move more quickly and you are allowed to discard and replace a card.

8.3 A ferry trip can be from any ferry stop to another unoccupied ferry stop (only at 20 minutes past the hour turns).

8.4 A bus ride can be from one bus stop to another on the same numbered bus route. (only on 20 minutes to the hour turns).

8.5 Ferries arrive at the end of a turn. If the space is already occupied by another walker, or a move to that space is contested by another ferry trip, the ferry doesn't land and the walker stays on the lake.

9.0 Bad Stuff

9.1 WEATHER - If a player draws a change of weather card, he may choose whether to play it immediately, to switch the weather from 'Sunny' to 'Cloudy' or vice versa, or to discard it. In either event he draws a replacement card. Whenever the weather is 'Cloudy' the Points values of triangles are reduced by ONE point.

9.2 BLISTERS - Once drawn, the blister card remains in your hand until it is discarded. A player can choose to 'play it', which means that he/she doesn't move that turn.

10.0 The Heavy Rucksack

10.1 As soon as the HR is drawn, it stays in play and the player draws another card. Any move card played by the carrier of the HR has one circle and one triangle deducted.

10.2 Chocolate doubles a move, but only after deducting the one triangle and one circle.

10.3 Ferry and bus rides are unaffected by the HR.

10.4 The carrier can pass the HR on to another walker if they occupy the same location at the end of a turn, or by overtaking them (if on a small circle or triangle). Similarly, a walker can choose to take the HR off the carrier. In both cases, the player must provide an order to that effect. The HR can only be transferred once during a given turn.

10.5 Players can vote to transfer the HR to a new player, if the current carrier has had it for at least 3 turns (60 minutes). If the vote is tied, the current carrier has the deciding vote.

11.0 Optional Rules

11.1 SECRET DESIRES - points for reaching a location are doubled if the location is named on the card played to get there, or an unused card in hand. Note that points are not doubled for target locations, or if the player has already visited the location. Players should claim for a secret desire as part of their orders. This rule is used by default in Variable Pig.

12.0 Miscellaneous

12.1 Walkers cannot move through the same space more than once in a particular turn.

12.2 Only one chocolate bar can be bought per turn.

13. Additional Rules for More Backpacks and Blisters

13.1 DIFFERENT MAP: Image link at top of page. The players are winter walkers in the Southern Lakes starting from Ambleside.

13.2 EQUIPMENT CARDS: Each player starts with one piece of equipment and can exchange their card with other players using the same rules as the heavy rucksack. See the More BP&B rules PDF for details.

13.3 WEATHER: There are now four weather cards: Fine, Poor Visibility, Snow and Blizzard. Triangles score one less point durtng Poor Visibiliry and Blizzard, and some cards cannot be played during Snow.

13.4 MOUNTAIN GOAT BUS: This runs from Eskdale and Patterdale but only twice per day on the revised timetable below.


Postal round Turn sequence Points for finishing Special
Round 1 Turn 1 : 9:00 +3  
Turn 2 : 9:20 +3 Ferry rides
Round 2 Turn 1 : 9:40 +3 Bus (+ Mountain Goat) rides
Turn 2 : 10:00 +3  
Round 3 Turn 1 : 10:20 +3 Ferry rides
Turn 2 : 10:40 +3 Bus rides
Round 4 Turn 1 : 11:00 +3  
Turn 2 : 11:20 +3 Ferry rides
Round 5 Turn 1 : 11:40 +3 Bus rides
Turn 2 : 12:00 +3  LUNCH 
Round 6 Turn 1 : 12:20 +3 Ferry rides
Turn 2 : 12:40 +3 Bus rides
Round 7 Turn 1 : 13:00 +3  
Turn 2 : 13:20 +3 Ferry rides
Round 8 Turn 1 : 13:40 +3 Bus rides
Turn 2 : 14:00 +3  COFFEE BREAK 
Round 9 Turn 1 : 14:20 +3 Ferry rides
Turn 2 : 14:40 +3 Bus rides
Round 10 Turn 1 : 15:00 +3  
Turn 2 : 15:20 +2 Ferry rides
Round 11 Turn 1 : 15:40 +1 Bus (+ Mountain Goat) rides
Turn 2 : 16:00 -2  
Round 12 Turn 1 : 17:20 -4 Ferry rides
Turn 2 : 16:40 -6 Bus rides