Synopsis of Toy
Card games are usually pretty mellow affairs: just play the cards and keep track of the score. No muss, no fuss. Milles Borne changed all this by putting all the thrills of a good car race into card-game form. Needless to say, it was a pretty smashing alternative to gin rummy. Since its debut in the early 1960’s, this classic game of strategy has become a perfect antidote to boredom for kids all over the world, allowing them to become car-race champs without having to leave the comfort of the living room.
The phrase “mille bornes” is French for “a thousand milestones.” Appropriately, the card game that bears this name was invented in France by Edmond Dujardin in 1960. Two years later, Mille Bornes made its way to the U.S. thanks to the efforts of Parker Brothers.
Modeled on the idea of a car race and designed for two, three, four or six players, Mille Bornes pitted players against each other in a 1000-mile race. Each player was dealt six cards to start with, and since that number was to remain the same at all times, players drew a fresh card each time one was played.
The cards came in four different types: Distance, Hazard, Remedy and Safety. Player initiated their cars' “motion” by playing a roll card (one of the Remedy cards) that allowed them to begin moving. Players then use the distance cards, which represented distances of 25, 50, 75, 100 or 200 miles, to move their car forward in the game. As they were played, the cards were laid side by side on the table so they could be added up.
Players also tried to keep other players from moving forward, and this is where Hazard cards came into play. During a turn, a player could lay down a Hazard card—Stop, Speed Limit, Flat Tire, Out of Gas or Accident—on another player to slow their trip down. There were only two ways to eliminate a Hazard: The first was to play the Remedy card necessary to temporarily eliminate the Hazard—Repair, Spare Tire, Gas, End of Limit and the aforementioned Roll cards.
The second Hazard remover was the Safety card—Puncture Proof Tire, Right-of-Way, Driving Ace and Tanker. These cards were played through a maneuver known as a “Coup Fourre” (French for “counter thrust”). Basically, this meant you countered another player’s throw-down of a Hazard Card by saying “Coup Fourre” and playing your Safety card. Not only did these Safety cards remove the Hazard, they also protected the Player against having such a Hazard card played against them for the remainder of the game. However, these cards were tough to come by, since only one of each existed in a Mille Bornes pack.
Mille Bornes did very well for Parker Brothers upon its release in 1962 and continues to be a staple of the game shelves at toy stores today. If you need a card game that to add a thrill to your card-table action, Mille Bornes will help you put the pedal to the metal.