Board Game Review: Marrying Mr. Darcy

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Maria here! Last week, I shared with you games I played during my formative years, and how those games made an impact on my taste in boardgames as an adult.

When I wrote the post, I was actually making dinner (multi-tasking FTW) and enjoying reminiscing about the days of old. I wasn’t expecting to discover the impact those childhood games made on my preferences as an adult.

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As for today’s post, I’ll be honest. It was supposed to mimic last week’s in that I was going to review my top 5 favorite games as an adult. Thing is, I’m not known for being brief (some might even go so far as to say I’m a bit talkative). My word count on this post was at 4,593 and counting.

So…game plan change! I’m splitting today’s post into a mini-series within a mini-series! Does that mean I’m being “meta”?

My five favorite games are primarily ones I’ve begun playing over the last 3-4 years, but ones I have a feeling will take a while to be de-throned. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to give you a little history into how I came across each game and a brief overview of how to play. I’ll then talk about what I like, and what could use improvement.

In keeping with our theme of nostalgia, I will also talk about which of my four favorite nostalgic game mechanics it incorporates. These four nostalgic game mechanics are:

  1. Dynamic character roles
  2. Great art or colors
  3. Incorporates a clicking noise
  4. Tactile, but not needlessly fidgety 

If you haven’t done it before, stop and think about what in board games makes you nostalgic. After all, nostalgia is a big part of why some games become very popular!

Marrying Mr. Darcy: Deck Building Game

Marrying Mr. Darcy is hands-down my favorite game. I will admit that my love for the game is a bit biased; I love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and yes, I do indeed have a bookshelf dedicated to all of Jane Austen’s works. Brandon calls it my Mr. Darcy Shrine as there *might* be a hand-drawn pen portrait of Darcy, a variety of P&P editions (all different covers!), and Darcy quotes from varying media.

I have no idea why he thinks I’m obsessed. ANYWAYS it was only natural that my friends got me a Jane Austen themed Christmas gift one year that included the BOARD GAME!!!

You do not have to know a lot (or anything) about the book, but if you know even a little bit then you will get that much more out of the game. It is actually a family favorite and often my 60-year-old DAD demands I bring the game over to family functions! Anywhere from 2-6 people can play, and the more animated you are during gameplay the fonder the memories are created.

My favorite memory is Christmas a few years ago when I stayed up late with my Dad (then 57), brother (29), and Grandma (82) playing a rousing game of Darcy. I can still picture it, Dad clutching his Jane Bennet character card to his chest and saying how he can’t wait to marry “Bingers” (his pet name for Mr. Bingley). And then my brother threatening to go after Bingley because Bingley is “so dreamy”. My grandma was practically in tears she was laughing so hard.

This game is also one of the ways that I knew my now husband was the man for me! It was our 3rd date when I brought the game with me to a coffee shop. He not only played the game, but he played along with my self-imposed rule of speaking in an obnoxious British accent whenever reading the cards. I don’t know about you, but if a guy I’m dating is willing to make himself look like an idiot early on just to make me happy…then he’s a winner.

That’s me from our date! Showing off a particularly impressive hand.

Let’s Play

Objective

Person with the highest point count wins. Point counts are gathered from points played on your character and/or how advantageously you marry. 

Game Play Overview

Each person chooses a female character to play. I always go for Elizabeth Bennet, because she’s my girl. You can also select from some of the other Bennet sisters, Caroline Bingley, Charlotte Lucas, or Georgiana Darcy. Each player has their own special skill, and each character also has a listing of preferred bachelor pairings.

The deck-building aspect to the game is collecting cards of different virtues – beauty, wit, friendliness, reputation – and having the minimum amount needed to pique the interest of your preferred bachelor. For instance, Mr. Darcy is all about improving your mind through extensive reading…so he’s going to want his future wife to be all about that Wit. Mr. Bingley, on the other hand, is just a nice handsome joe, so he is more interested in Beauty or Friendliness.

You gain points by playing cards in your hand onto your character, and also through how advantageous your marriage is during the Proposal Stage of the game. The Proposal Stage is after all of the event cards have been played, and if you meet the minimum requirements to pique a bachelor’s interest then you have the very technical task of rolling a die to see if he will propose. That’s actually how I got Brandon to propose to me. Jk Jk.

Oh, and because love and war are sometimes synonymous, there are “cunning cards” that you can use to either take points away from your competitors, or play on your own character for a leg-up during the Proposals (Phase 2).

What I Love

The game developers seem to have built the game around the book instead of incorporating the book into a game. At least that is how it plays for someone who knows Pride & Prejudice. Every nuanced attention to detail is a small celebration for the Austenite in me!

For example, Mr. Darcy is Elizabeth’s first marriage choice, for obvious reasons. Yet her second choice is his cousin, Colonial Fitzwilliam. And you know what? He would be a great second choice for Elizabeth. She got along with him and he is still a high-ranking individual within society.

The other bachelor’s minimum requirements needed to potentially propose also line up with the book’s characterization. I find it hysterical that Wickham’s only requirements is that the woman has money – because he is a gambling git.

I also love that the player count can go as low as 2 with the game still being fun. As I mentioned previously, I played this game with my husband back when we were dating early on. Sure, it is more fun with a larger group (especially if everyone really gets into) but it is still enjoyable with a more intimate grouping.

Could Use Improvement

This game is certainly replayable, but it does run stale if you play it as many times as I do. There just are not enough event cards! Being an Austenite, with bookish friends, I did handwrite some event cards to add variety (and game length) to the stack.

I didn’t want to throw off the balance of “good” vs. “bad” cards as the developers did a great job finding that sweet spot, so I put in 10 and 10, and I think 3 Party Cards. On a funny note, despite putting in an even number of the good vs. bad cards, my dad always manages to draw one of the bad cards. Poor Bingers. 

If you do not want to write up your own expansion cards, the developers have released an Undead expansion pack for Marrying Mr. Darcy, as well as an Emma edition.

Preferred Game Nostalgic Mechanics: Dynamic character roles, Great Art, and even some Tactile elements (the die roll is a nice way to break things up).

Board Game Geek Rating: 6.4 with a 1.38 weight

Final Thoughts

There you have it! I highly recommend Marrying Mr. Darcy to anyone who loves Jane Austen’s works and board games. I would even recommend it to those who want to play a game that has some substance, but isn’t super heavy. The box is the perfect size to toss in a purse “just in case”.

Next week we are going to talk about another favorite go-to game that is significantly heavier than MMD. We are transporting ourselves from 19th century England to 22nd century Mars!


Board Games, Seen By a Non-Gamer is written by Maria Polcari, Brandon’s wife. The series is meant to both make you think about games in a different way, and to give Brandon a much needed break!

This is the second in a five-part series (maybe more)!





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