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Subject: Suitors and Suitability - failed by the cards rss

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John Culp
United States
Gillette
Wyoming
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Suitors and Suitability-

I felt that I owed the designer a word about this game as I am currently the only other BGGer to rate this game, and my rating is fairly poor. My wife likes Pride and prejudice and the various other novels by Jane Austen and likes the moves/tv series that have been out. I read it in High school and was kind of bored, but figured she’d like the game. Or her cousin would.

Long story short S&S is a game with nice art, good ideas and a unique theme, but fails on execution. It is too long for what is there. Some tweaking of the card mix would go a long way.
S&S is a card game based on the novels by Jane Austen. The first set and the one that I own is based on Pride and Prejudice. In this game you are given a ‘protagonist’, one of the main characters in the story (primarily one of the Bennet sisters). Your goal is to marry this character off to the most eligible bachelor (or Suitor) possible. These characters are drawn from the story, such as Mr. Darcy or the Rev. Collins. Other characters show up as well, with cards requiring their presence.

The cards have some great art on them. I don’t know if they are period or where they come from, but they generally match the art you would see on a copy of Pride and Prejudice from the bookstore. The cards themselves though show a lot of wear on the backside after 1 game. My copy of citadels is well worn (especially the role cards) and these cards look like they have a similar wear on the backside. Disappointing to say the least. The fronts are fine though.

The gameplay is fairly simple and has a heavy dose of ‘take-that’ cardplay in it
.
Each player draws a hand, and on their turn can play as many cards as can, as allowed by the limitations on the card. There is no ‘cost’ to play a card, but some cards require certain characters or situations to be in play.

Each of the characters has keywords attached to them. They may be vain, rich, beautiful, obsequious (I had to look that one up) or any of a number of adjectives. These keywords are what you need to be able to play certain cards.

For example - To make your targeted bachelor more attractive (or worth more points at the end of the game) there are modifier cards that can be played on the suitors or protagonists. These require certain keywords to play. In my game I was attempting to marry a poor soldier-type, and was able to play a card giving him an honorable past or something. This required (I am going from memory here) a suitor with a ‘honorable’ keyword and made him worth +1 points at the end of the game.

Several cards can only be played on characters ‘on stage’ which are generally locations or events. Such as ‘a pleasant walk’ or ‘a visit to pemberly’. These cards have limitations on who can show up. This limitation on who shows up with whom, and the keywords they bring with them are a big part of the game.

So, you pump up your targeted boy-toy, eventually you can play a card with his ‘affections’. Once your protagonist has his affections, you can eventually play a card that allows for his proposal, and eventually play another card to get married. Points are scored based on the value of the protagonist+modifiers+Suitor+modifiers+bonus for going out early.

This last paragraph is my primary issue. Its kinda neat to see characters have things happen to them, and to tell the story . honestly the first 30 minutes or so we really had fun throwing cards around, embarrassing each other’s protagonists. But then the game dragged on and on. As you see above it’s a pretty set process to get married. Each suitor has only 1 affections card, so if you don’t get the one you want tough. There are a handful of proposal cards, so they aren’t hard to get. The marriage cards though...ugh. There are 2, only 1 of which is available to several of the characters. The deck is fairly small, so we were going through it several times. I was ready to ‘marry’ for a long time (30+ minutes) and purely by bad luck I was unable to marry, as my wife and her friend kept drawing the marriage card. We all got tired of the game, so our third player drew the marriage card, and picked my wife to marry.

Also, there is at least 1 card that requires someone who is ‘vain’. The only vain character? One of the protagonists who wasn’t in the game. The protagonists are very mixed on the keywords they have, which would be a good way to handicap one player or another.

In the end, the combination needed to get married (and thus end the game) is awfully restrictive, requiring a very defined combination of cards. Some more tweaking on the cards would make the game go alittle faster. If this lasted 30-45 minutes I wouldn’t mind keeping it around. As it is, I’m hoping my wife’s cousin will enjoy it.

I am interested to see if any other versions come out, as the possibility of a War of the Worlds or 20,000 leagues under the sea version would be neat. The base game engine isn’t bad, its just failed by the card mix.
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Joe Fatula
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Blue Tent
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Thanks for taking the time to try out the game and write a review.

You mentioned something I've been hearing a few times, that the card mix needs a little "tweaking", so I'd like to ask everyone reading this:

What tweaks would you recommend?


In playtesting, we had a few ideas:
- If you've already collected points, discard all your cards each turn.
- Add another Wedding card.
- Add an incident card that, when played, removes cards from the game. The one we've tried was conditional on all players with 0 points being willing.

Any ideas are very much appreciated.

(Thankfully, in the 20k Leagues edition -- in playtesting right now -- the endgame dragging on is never an issue, since the more players that have gone out, the more likely the Nautilus is to sink and end the game.)
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Chris Dugas
Canada
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Thanks for the review. This is up for auction and I was tempted to bid (the BIN price is quite low, but shipping to Canada would have brought it up a bit). You have saved me money and I thank you. I think the length is the deciding factor. I think a 30 minute game based on Jane Austen's characters could be genteel fun with the right people (note my Jane Austen microbadge). Any longer and I think the game would outstay its welcome, like the insufferable, obsequious Mr. Collins.
 
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David
Canada
Prince George
British Columbia
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Wise men say, forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.
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SilentCat wrote:
Thanks for the review. This is up for auction and I was tempted to bid (the BIN price is quite low, but shipping to Canada would have brought it up a bit). You have saved me money and I thank you. I think the length is the deciding factor. I think a 30 minute game based on Jane Austen's characters could be genteel fun with the right people (note my Jane Austen microbadge). Any longer and I think the game would outstay its welcome, like the insufferable, obsequious Mr. Collins.


Having played Mr. Collins in the musical stage version, I resemble that remark.
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J Young
United States
Irving
Texas
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Thanks for the review. I did not know this was a card game. I saw this on the Lumenaris website and noticed the game time was 1 - 2 hours. I was hoping it would be an actual board game, but I agree that it is too long for a card game.
 
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