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  • Writer's picturePeter Berthoud


Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Bottleneck, Pepys Series

First Published: circa 1945, Pepys Series

Illustrator or Designer: Ern Shaw credited

Contents: 2 x 1 single sided Rules Leaflet, one of which is pasted to the inside of the box, 1 Playing Board, 9 Aluminium Hexagons, 9 Aluminium Discs, 1 Aluminium Die and 1 Shaker.

Bottleneck - Box Top

Bottleneck - Box Top

Bottleneck - Playing Board

Bottleneck - Playing Board

Bottleneck Boards, blue and green versions.

Bottleneck playing pieces: 12 Aluminium Hexagons & 12 Aluminium Discs.

Bottleneck playing pieces: 12 Aluminium Hexagons & 12 Aluminium Discs.

Bottleneck Aluminium Die and Shaker.

Bottleneck Aluminium Die and Shaker.

The game is similar to draughts but without capturing an opponent's pieces, click on the rules below for a larger version.

The aluminium components are of high quality and must have felt luxurious to post-war players. Throughout World War II aluminium was required for many aspects of Britain's war effort. It was used in the majority of military aircraft, in munitions and explosives and in "Window" the vast quantities of aluminium foil strips that were dropped from the air to disrupt enemy Radar. Only after the war did aluminium become available for civilian goods and projects including the manufacture of temporary houses. Much of this aluminium became available when surplus military aircraft were scrapped. The roof of the Bomber Command Memorial in The Green Park in London is constructed from aluminium that was salvaged from a Halifax Bomber that was shot down over Belgium in 1944. The components and die of Bottleneck were produced from anonymously sourced bulk salvage but quite probably contain elements that were once parts of Spitfires, Hurricanes, Wellingtons or Lancasters.

You can read far more on the wartime uses of aluminium here.

Described on the board as "An Ern Shaw Game" this could be because he designed the game play, illustrated the box and/or board, or perhaps that he just provided an endorsement.

There are two differently coloured boards, one blue and one green backed, all components and the boxes are identical but each has a slightly different dice shaker. Nothing suggests which set was published first and it could well be that both were available simultaneously.

There is no mention of Castell Brothers on the box or rules and no addresses are given.

A reproduction of the game was released under the brand Heritage Toys & Games by Gazebo Games International Ltd. in 2006.

Bottleneck by Gazebo (2006)

Game & Version Details

Bottleneck - Box Contents

Bottleneck - Rules Front Page

Bottleneck - Base of Dice Shaker Type 1








​​​Bottleneck - Dice Shaker Type 2

​​Bottleneck - Base of Dice Shaker Type 2





​​​Bottleneck - Board Label

​​​Bottleneck - Box Lid, Short Side


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