“I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.” – Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice
If you are a fan of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice then you know this quote off by heart, and what it meant to the story’s heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. It may also have caused you to search for your own Mr. Darcy.
In this game, you get to take on the role of Elizabeth or one of the other heroines of the story. You will need to try and improve yourself in order to attract the attention of your perfect man, and perhaps you will even get to marry Mr. Darcy!
How It Plays
Marrying Mr. Darcy is a card game for 2-6 players in which your character attempts to make themselves desirable to the best possible suitor in an attempt to ensure his marriage proposal. There are two phases to the game; in the first you will acquire character and cunning points (to improve your character and chances of marriage), and in the second phase you’ll try to capture the suitor of your dreams…or one of his friends.
In the Courtship phase, players take turns drawing event cards and resolving them. Usually this entails drawing/playing your character cards or rolling a die to determine its effect. The character cards earn you points in various traits such as cunning, wit, and beauty, which will be needed in the second phase to attract a suitor. Cunning points, unlike the others, are kept secret. They determine the first player in phase two, and can also be used against your rivals.
Once the event deck is empty, you enter the second phase of the game. In this phase of the game, players take turns (in order of the player with the most cunning to the least cunning) attempting to bag a suitor. You will arrange your available suitors (any suitors whose “standards” – or character traits – you meet that haven’t been claimed by a previous player) from low to high, followed by an “old maid” card at the end of the row. Then, you can choose to roll for one of the available suitors with a +1 bonus, or try with all of them. If you stick with all of them, you roll for each suitor, starting with the lowest number, until you accept a marriage proposal or end up an old maid. A successful roll means the suitor proposes, but you can always reject the proposal in the hopes of claiming a more valuable one.
After each player has taken their turn, the game ends. The winner is the player with the highest total between their character and marriage points, so you don’t necessarily need to get the best suitor for your character in order to win.
Blushing Bride or Old Maid
Marrying Mr. Darcy is a straight forward, strategy card game. The main attraction of this game over others is that you get to role play a character from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It is a lighter game and the mechanics are easy to grasp and teach. If you are a fan of the story or of Jane Austen, then you will have a lot of fun immersing yourself in this world!
To truly have a great experience you need to plunge yourself into the theme. This isn’t difficult as the character cards make it easy to slip into your role. All the opponents I have played with find the game fun and they can easily ensconce themselves into the story. Some players may have issues with the fact that only the female roles are playable, but I haven’t had any problems with this.
The backs of the heroines’ cards show who will give you the most to least marriage points and are kept secret from your opponents. Players who don’t know Pride & Prejudice extremely well will find the hidden point system to be a very useful feature, but if your rival is well versed with the story, they will have a distinct advantage. Since I was familiar with the book when I played the game I knew who would be my most valuable suitor, and who my opponent’s would be. He was at a disadvantage since he had never read the book (or seen any of the movies) and had no clue who my perfect suitor would be. When it came to the proposal stage, instead of going after my best suitor, I went after his (which also happened to be my second choice). It forced him into trying for a different one. In the end, he didn’t have the points needed to interest certain suitors or the suitor just didn’t propose and he ended up being the old maid, which resulted in a lot of jokes and laughter at his expense! We still had a lot of fun, but he stated that if he had known who I was originally after, that he would have played differently. After a few plays with different characters you do get to know who each characters’ best pairings are and it does even the playing field.
There are quite a few strategies you can employ with this game. You can throw everything into trying to get that one perfect suitor or you can round out your character to get as many options in the proposal stage as possible. This involves picking and choosing what characteristics your heroine should have to try and maximize your success. Even if you have all the qualities that your suitor is looking for, this doesn’t guarantee a proposal. A roll of the die can cause you to become an old maid, and wish that you had settled for Mr. Bingley instead of waiting for Mr. Darcy to come to his senses and ask for your hand!
Quite a few variants on the basic rules are included and, while some are better than others, it does give the game a lot of replay ability. One variant eliminates the hidden points system and allows all the players to check and see which character best matches up with who. It can make the initial few games easier and it also gives you the knowledge of who your opponents’ second and third choices may be. If we had originally played with this variant, it would have given my opponent the information that he needed in order to change his strategy.
The “Everyone Loves Mr. Darcy” variant is unique as all the suitors are the same point value for each heroine. This is one of the only rule changes that I found that made the game more difficult, since everyone was playing for the same suitors. Cunning points in this variant were especially handy to block your rivals from being able to have enough points in the proposal stage, as well as getting first crack at the suitors. There was a lot more backstabbing in this variant than the others, which made for a more interesting game. Normally Georgiana and Caroline aren’t eligible to marry their brothers, but in this variant it is revealed that they were both adopted and can now vie for their “brother’s” affection. Mr. Darcy in this way of playing the game is the most sought after bachelor.
I have read Pride and Prejudice and although it isn’t one of my favorite books I enjoyed it, but it is a product of its time. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun with this game. The best part I found is when the players are vying for their suitors’ attention and collecting their character points. This can lead to some very funny moments when they are trying to maximize their chances of bagging the best husband!
I have also read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is represented by the Undead Expansion. It gives each character weapons and adds some interesting event cards, like undead attacks and cursed suitors. If you need some mayhem and zombie killing in your classic literature card game, then the expansion is a must. But if zombies aren’t your thing, the base game is still fun and the rule variants keep it fresh.
The artwork is very charming in this game. It was one of the first things that drew me to it. It definitely portrays the theme of the game and the cards themselves look and feel wonderful. They shuffle well and have a great weight and texture to them. The text is also very easy to see and read, and the iconography can be picked up quickly. The rule book itself is very easy to follow and also contains the same artwork so it gives it the same feel as the rest of the game. You can also view it online which is always a bonus for me. I love when publishers do this as I can get a sense of the game before I even pick it up. The box is made of heavy duty cardboard and the insert cradles all of the cards and the die that is included. It allows the cards to be easily extracted so as to limit any damage to them that way, and it even allows enough room for the expansion.
Marrying Mr. Darcy is a great fun and light strategy game that both fans and non-fans alike can enjoy. The theme is delightful and carries well throughout the game and artwork. It is strategic in that there are many ways to win, and even if you don’t manage to get married you can still accumulate enough points to pull off a victory! The random second phase may not appeal to everyone, but I thought it was well implemented and works with the overall tone of the game. The expansion I found just added to the fun and also gave it another layer of game play. Overall, I enjoyed this one, it’s light and easy to learn and teach. You can have great fun with it if you really get into the role playing aspect. It may not be for everyone, but for fans of classic literature, it will be a hit!
iSlaytheDragon would like to thank Games Salute for providing a review copy of Marrying Mr. Darcy