Archive: February 21st, 2009

Pride and Prejudice Board Game

[Readings] (02.21.09, 9:30 pm)

The Pride and Prejudice Board Game attempts to develop a thematic board game about Pride and Prejudice. The game situates each player as one of the couples who eventually marry by the end of the story. Thus, a player controls each couple (Collins and Charlotte Lucas, Wickham and Lydia, Bingley and Jane, Darcy and Elizabeth). Each couple needs to navigate the board in order to achieve a number of tokens, and then go to the Parish Church. There are two types of tokens, representing “The Novel” and “Regency Life”. The Regency Life tokens may be found at any of the major locations in the story, and The Novel tokens may be found by landing on special squares and having the player answer a question about the novel. It is also possible to land on squares where the player must draw a card which can affect the current player or all the players in the game (for instance, move all the male characters to a certain location, or moving the current character or couple to a location.

The central mechanic of the game is collection. The player controls a couple, suggesting that the couple that winds up marrying has this as their intended goal through the entire game. Thus, there would not be reflected any of the cross-couple conflicts that are rampant throughout the book. The couple a player controls never actually needs to meet in the course of the entire game, other than at the Parish Church at the end. The course of the game is competitive, so, for example, the characters of Jane and Elizabeth are set up as rivals. Being a board game, the players are also made to be even. So even though, according to the various metrics of the story world (specifically social status and money), the characters are very different, they are made to be even in the space of the board game.

In terms of an adaptation or operationalization of Pride and Prejudice itself, I do not think the board game is very successful, it misses many of the important dimensions of the conflicts of the story world. However, it is a successful adaptation of the dimensions of Austen fandom. There is spatial navigation in the story world, but navigation sets up the characters in the environments as stages. Navigation is subservient to the matter of being in a place. In the board game, navigation is central, and is the means for acquiring tokens. For the players, navigation enables a sense of vicarious exploration. It gives the player an opportunity to tour and visit the memorable locations from the book.

Instead of creating a procedural representation for the story conflicts in the game, it is likely that the players will create their own story variations as explanations for their actions. So, while the game does not represent the dynamics that happen in the story, the players can construct their own stories, based on their knowledge of the story world, and on what their characters are doing in the arena of the game itself.

Reading Info:
Author/EditorAsh Grove Press
TitlePride and Prejudice Board Game
Tagsfiction, settings, games, specials
LookupGoogle Scholar, Google Books, Amazon