Monday, March 19, 2018

The Joy of Gaming: Women Game Designers - Marrying Mr. Darcy

Women's History Month: 

A Joy of Gaming Tribute to 

Women Game Designers


I have to eat crow a bit here, because in February I said, "Not my thing, but I have to admit, it hits all those adorable, girly-squealing, Austen Buttons." Yet, here I am writing about the game in March instead of February when I was working on my Valentine's Day list.  I thought, at first, that the premise behind the game was a bit silly, but once I played it... oh my... I am in love and it's not even Friday. 

You play one of the ladies from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and you need to, by the end of the game, fulfill the requirements of one of the male suitors and then roll a die to see if you get a proposal. If you choose not the marry the suitor or they do not propose to you, you move on down the line to the better suitors you meet requirements for. If you cannot attain ANY suitor, you will become an old maid, which offers a wide range of possible outcomes, from a short and bitter life to a thriving successful one. During your turn, you draw event cards that have objectives to complete and give you directions for drawing and playing cards. There are parties to could attend, where you roll a die to see what your outcome is. There are situations that allow you to play cards to build up your character stats to be appealing to your suitors (beauty, wit, friendliness, reputation). There are scandals that set you our your competition back. On the back of each character card is a points list of which suitors will give you the most points if you end up with them. Also, the ladies come with certain attributes already and some have special abilities based on who they are. The game ends when the Event Deck runs out and then you go through the proposals and whoever has the most points at the end wins. Really quite a nice game that I am really glad I finally purchased. It is very light, yes, but fun and quite cutthroat with a higher player count. Bonus fun for using British accents while playing.  (I would love to be meta and play this in Bath in England....)

Erika Svanoe has the most informing biography of all the women designers, so far. She actually has one written on Board Game Geek that isn't just one sentence. Prior to being a game designer, she was a musician and conductor and taught music courses in the University setting. Her biography lists some of wonderfully geeky fandoms, but the most noteworthy one is, of course, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. As with many female designers, and designers in general, she tapped into to the fountain of money that is crowdfunding and Marrying Mr. Darcy took off.  As of July 2015, Svanoe was interested in targeting other Austen works to create other games from. After playing this one, I am excited to see what else she might be cooking up. And, as with many married women game designers, she teamed up with her husband. Erik Evensen is Svanoe's husband and he provided the artwork for the game. It's really quite lovely. My husband found the one of the Scandal card's artwork to be quite hilarious.

Svanoe currently is the director of the Augsburg Concert and Band at Augsburg University in Minnesota. Learn more about Svanoe on her website.

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