February 2022 meeting: A(nother) games afternoon

March 15, 2022

After a successful games afternoon to start our 2021 year, we decided to try again in 2022, and to repeat the venue too, that is, to meet under the trees at the Oaks Brasserie in Yarralumla. A fitting location for an Austen tea party.

As in February 2021, we reversed our usual agenda order and started our meeting with coffee and cake, while we caught up with our respective summers. There was much to talk about this year, given the presence of COVID (yet again) to complicate Christmas decisions but at least, this Christmas, most of us could meet with family if we wanted to (as long as they lived on the east coast, that is!)

Playing Lizzy Loves Darcy

The game we played was sent to member Sue, by our lovely, but now remote member, Cheng. Based on that classic game, Snakes and Ladders, Lizzy Loves Darcy: A Jane Austen Matchmaking Game was easier to learn than last year’s game. The rules, say Lets Play Games, are “simple”

Simple rules: Your goal is to make your perfect match by landing on the golden rings at Square 100. Spin the wheel, answer Jane Austen trivia questions, and see whether you will rise on social ladders or fall down ropes of scandal.

However, it was not that easy, so Sue took on the role of games-mistress while the rest of the attendees launched forth, choosing their characters from the available counters. Lady Catherine, anyone? There were some half-hearted grumbles about the characters chosen – I don’t want to be Kitty! Players were given the opportunity to change but, you know, it’s not a game if there isn’t something to grumble about!

As well as involving a lot of luck, like the usual Snakes and Ladders, this one also tested our knowledge, as landing on certain squares invoked a trivia question. The questions covered a wide range of Austen topics across Jane’s life, family, and books. Some didn’t seem to us to have black and white answer, but to share them now would be to spoil it for those who’ve not played it yet. And there were some interesting, and occasionally tricky, questions about the publishing of and contemporary reactions to her books.

Of course, it was all in good fun. Member Jenny scooted to the golden rings in quick-smart time, proving herself to be an excellent social climber. Others, though, took their time, seeming to be keen to answer more questions en route (and perhaps meet an interesting match or two). Interestingly, no-one got embroiled in any scandals. We must all be good girls, or, just focused on the prize.


Our much-missed remote member, Cheng, also sent us a quiz, which gave quizmaster Anna a break, and an opportunity to play along as well. Cheng’s theme was “Eyes” and the quiz comprised quotes from the novels on eyes. Well! We thought we recognised many – and spent time over each question discussing who it could be given our (we thought, extensive) knowledge of the books and characters. But, between us we managed to get just one right. We did, however, have fun and a laugh, as we always do, trying. Nonetheless, it’s just as well we have decided to return to slow reading the novels again, starting with Sense and sensibility this year.

And so, roll on 2022 … we sure hope this year is less disrupted than the last two have been.

February 2021 meeting: A games afternoon

February 22, 2021

After a more than usually tough twelve months – not all of it being due to COVID-19 – we decided to start 2021 with something a bit lighthearted, and what can be more lighthearted than games?

Now, we are currently venue-challenged as our old venue, the National Library’s Friends’ lounge, is no longer open on the weekends. Will they reopen it on weekends once COVID-19 is under good control? We don’t know. Anyhow, we tried something different this month, and met under the trees at the Oaks Brasserie in one of Canberra’s older suburbs, Yarralumla. It worked so nicely that we’ve decided to do it again next month.

So, the meeting. We reversed our usual agenda order – partly because, being at a cafe, we felt we should start our meeting with coffee and cake rather than ending that way. We decided to do our usual end-of-meeting quiz and guess-the-quote challenges while we were imbibing. Quizmaster Anna put together an excellent quiz on the theme of games, drawing her ideas from a blog post she found, titled Card games in Jane Austen novels, on the Jane Austen Society of New Zealand website. Anna value-added the answers by sharing from the blog how Austen used the games to illuminate characters, to move her plots along and/or develop her themes. We’ve had some good quizmasters for our group over the years, and Anna is proving herself to be well up to the task set by her predecessors.

As usual, most of the quotes needed a lot of hints and guesses before they were identified. We often wonder how we can call ourselves fans given how often the quotes challenge us, but we keep trying.

For this meeting, Anna was also our games master, and had brought along two games for us to try. We got ourselves into the mood by starting with a bit of Tarot fun, using A Jane Austen Tarot Deck. What was forecast in the cafe stays in the cafe, but let’s just say we all found something to ponder in the cards!

Next up was the game that we’d all come for, a card game titled Marrying Mr Darcy. After all, who doesn’t want to marry Mr Darcy? For game aficionados it falls, apparently, into the “role-playing” group of games. Each player takes on the part of one of the eligible female characters from Pride and Prejudice. The aim is to improve themselves to attract the available suitors. This is done by playing “Event” cards. The game is divided into two parts: the Courtship Stage and the Proposal Stage.

It is not a simple game, but it was a hoot to play – and occasionally we even thought about how the “events” actually related to the book! Most of the time though we were concentrating too hard on how to play the game and avoiding having to marry Mr Wickham.

You can read more about the game on its dedicated website.

I’m not sure that we played the game with a great deal of finesse, but there are worse ways to spend your time than sitting under the trees on a warm summer afternoon with a bunch of people who share the same passion as you. I think all the members who attended would agree!

Roll on 2021 … we are off to a nice start.