Object of the game
Gain the most prestige (scored using tokens) by creating successful matches, playing host and impressing the most influential people.
The ladies and gentlemen who keenly await your matchmaking expertise have four traits: charm, virtue, rank and fortune. Each character values one trait above all others in their potential partner. (The symbol on their portrait indicates this). Jane for instance values virtue, while that cad Wickham cares only about his fortune.
The game seems simple enough. You propose a match, which another player accepts or declines. You score based on the traits shown on your opponent's card. The next phase involves rolling the dice which is where it gets clever - the options are weighted, not completely random; If you roll a "?" you change your die to your character's preferred trait - and this adds up to a 50/50 chance of getting your character's preferred trait. So choose your matches carefully!
It's like online dating - mostly chance. It can go horribly wrong, but if you've done your due diligence (facebook stalking, twitter stalking, camped in a bush in their garden for a week... not to mention blocked all the fascists from your profile) then your odds are good. Well, much better anyway...
In the first round of this I struggled to get my head round it. It seemed largely chance and I could not understand when to accept and when to decline a proposal. The key to this is understanding your odds and careful comparison of the four trait scores. To say I find this thing called "Maths" challenging would be an understatement; as soon as numbers are involved a big smog of can't descends over my brain. I worked out the odds but then had no idea what to do with that information. It took my partner (an Austen-phobic maths lover) to work it out.
In subsequent rounds I became more proficient but my partner was not so gripped. While he loved the mechanic of the game he could not get on board with the theme (no lasers or space ships), whereas I loved the theme but found the mechanic challenging.
It reminds me a little of poker (which I am fairly hopeless at - I can bluff, I just have to rely on luck rather than any calculation of odds otherwise part of my brain melts). If you love Jane Austen and you have a decent grip of maths you will love this game.
The game is well designed and the mechanics are the work of an evil genius. The cards are beautifully illustrated with delicate artwork which wouldn't look out of place in an Austen novel. The use of tokens is practical and a pleasingly tactile way of scoring. I'm just sad that this will not get much play in our house where the English is better than Maths argument still simmers as a dangerous undercurrent in every conversation!
So, I'm on the lookout for the perfect match for this charming and challenging game: