Happy P&P Week, Y'all! I'm doubly excited, because not only is Lizzie Bennet my FAVORITE character like, ever, but I just moved to Scotland three days ago! And as Jane Austen taught us, Scotland is like the Las Vegas of the British Isles. So if you'll excuse me, I have to go sip a margarita by the pool... Wait. What do you mean it's cold, overcast, and windy here? I THOUGHT I WAS MOVING TO BRITISH NEVADA! Jane Austen did not adequately prepare me for grad school.
Anyway, before I left the States, I went to visit my parents' house! And do you know what's at my parents' house? Free food and a cat that's doing his best impression of Lucifer in Cinderella! And also, this board game:
Snazzy, no? But let's use some Highly Scientific Analysis to determine whether or not this is worth your $45.
You represent one of literature's greatest couples: Jane and Bingley, Lizzie and Darcy, Collins and Charlotte, or Lydia and Whickham. Like Mrs. Bennett, your main goal in life is to get your characters married off before anyone else. But before you can race to the chapel, you must first show that you are marrige-ready by navigating your way through Society and proving your knowledge of the source material.
The board itself is kind of cute, and I appreciate that the character pieces are clearly modeled after their miniseries counterparts, rather than other inferior versions of the film. Some of their faces are kind of creepy though; somehow Mr. Collins comes of looking even grosser than in the movie. Overall, I'd give it a B+ for artistic effort.
So as I mentioned before, the object of the game is a race to the chapel to get married. At the beginning of the game, you select a couple to play with. Now, nowhere in the rules* does it specify that you have to play with an actual couple, so my mom and I decided to raise the stakes:
Lydia and Collins, because they deserve each other, and Darcy and Bingley, because I know there's got to be some serious slash fanfiction out there.
My dad joined in later in the game and paired up Wickham and Lizzie, because Jane and Charlotte are too boring to play with and all the other men were taken.
*Actually, it totally specifies in the rulebook that you play with one of the four pre-selected couples. But rules were made to be broken! Also, my favorite sport is Calvinball and I'm extremely bad at following instructions.
In order to qualify for chapel racing, however, you first must move your characters about the board, visiting houses, collecting various tokens, spending money, and answering questions about the book. You have to get a set of five tokens--nature, music, letters, tophats, and teacups--before proceeding to the chapel. Additionally, you can collect Regency Cards, which are my favorite part of the game. They could be good things, or they could be tragic accidents. For instance, Mr. Darcy's lace slipped on his gown, exposing too much flesh, and he had to return home immediately out of shame. I guess this is none too surprising given Erin's post this morning, but I never would have pegged Darcy for a crossdresser.
Also, my father had to send poor Lizzie to Hunsford to return the copy of Fordyce's Sermons she had borrowed. Dad was incredulous. "Why would Lizzie borrow Fordyce's Sermons?! It's almost as implausible as Wickham borrowing them."
You additionally need to answer four questions about the novel correctly before you can get married. This, I find, is the weakest part of the game. For a Pride & Prejudice enthusiast like myself, they range from easy to mind-bogglingly easy. Like this one:
I tested out some of the questions on Lee, noted Miniseries-hater, who has also never read the book and thinks that multiple sets of siblings are married to one another. And even SHE got most of them. The problem is this: the only people who are willing to spend $45 on a Pride & Prejudice board game are people who already have Pride & Prejudice memorized. So in the future, I would probably throw out the novel questions entirely and instead just try to stump the other players with obscure trivia and quotations. It would be much more challenging and fun.
Once you have all your tokens, you must move both of your characters to the chapel. Natch, I won (with a little help from Lady Catherine).
I wonder how Lady Catherine feels about bankrolling her nephew's gay wedding? Probably not great.
The premise is fun, the regency cards are great, and it's easy to tweak the rules to make the game more challenging and/or funny. In short, I really like this game. But do I $45 like it? No. That is stupid money for a board game, even for a Jane Austen lover like myself. I bought this five or six years ago for my mom, and I'm pretty sure it didn't cost that. I'm not sure why the price is jacked up so much, but I bet it's keeping a lot of people from a cheesey impulse buy. Which is a shame, because it's kind of fun.