Marrying Mr Darcy'.
The game is exactly what you think it is; it's Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' translated into a card-game. Each player takes the role of one of eight heroines from the book - the Bennet sisters, plus three other ladies. As various events, parties, balls and encounters from the book occur, you attempt to acquire cards to improve various characteristics in order to convince the man of your choice to propose to you. Fail to make a match and you end the game as an old maid. The value of your characteristics, plus the points you make from making a good marriage (or not) dictate who wins.
Here are the ladies:
And the gentleman they are competing for. :
A few sample cards:
As you can see, the text and art-work are utterly charming, and very much in keeping with the style of the book. One interesting feature is that the heroines score different points for a particular suitor. That is, Mr Darcy is not every girl's idea catch, and even the odious Mr Collins is a target for at least one lady. Thus you have to keep you eye not only on your own suitability with regard to your chosen man, but also how likely your rivals are to pick up their choice of husband. Obviously things can get nasty if it's obvious that you're vying for the same chap.
We played a couple of games yesterday evening. In the first I took the bookish, intelligent Mary Bennet, Maya the flighty Lydia Bennet and Catherine their elder sister, Jane. After a hectic season of balls, visits and tea-parties poor Jane completely failed to interest any of the men in marrying her, end ended up unwed, but reasonably well-off. Lydia snared Mr Denny for a respectable, but not massive, final score, leaving Mary, who had spent much of the game ruthlessly improving herself, able to win by marrying any of the available suitors, most of whom could potentially consider her as an eligible wife. A proposal came from Mr Wickham, and would have given me a win by the narrowest of margins, but who wants to marry Mr Wickham? I went for the big win, tipping my bonnet at the boring, but safe, Mr Collins. But despite my many accomplishments he wasn't interested, and neither was Colonel Fitzwilliam. With no further proposals, poor Mary also ended up an old maid, whilst Maya rejoiced in Lydia's victory.
In the second game Catherine took everyone's favourite Bennet, Elizabeth. Maya and I dropped the Bennet family. She took the wealthy Georgiana Darcy, whilst I went for the accomplished, but not very nice, Caroline Bingley. Maya and I competed with each other, building our beauty, reputation and other attributes, whilst Elizabeth failed to improve herself in any great way at all. Utter disaster seemingly struck Maya when, towards the end of the game, she eloped with Mr Wickham, utterly ruining her reputation and destroying a lot of her final victory score. Despite her wealth, and some very unladylike persistence, Caroline couldn't get Colonel Fitzwilliam to propose to her, and once again I finished up an old maid, dependent on the goodwill of a rich uncle. This left Maya and I with an equal score. At that point Catherine waltzed up with poor, plain, Elizabeth Bennet, caught the eye of Mr Darcy, and made a perfect marriage to win the game. There's probably a moral there.
Like a lot of games of this nature, it probably doesn't have huge replay value, but is certainly interesting enough to drag out from time to time when you need an hour's diversion. It does capture the feel of the books and, whilst it has a high degree of luck, it does allow for a certain amount of tactical play, as well as sabotaging other players - in a suitably ladylike manner, of course.