We uncovered this classic gem card game when my in-laws unloaded a bunch of games on our family. Mille Bornes is a French card game (so you can feel très internationale while you are playing) from 1963. “Mille Bornes” translates to “one thousand milestones,” but it might as well translate to “one thousand kinds of awesomeness,” this game is so fun.
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Mille Bornes: Classic Racing Card Game is unlike any game the boys and I have ever played.* The boys were instantly attracted to it because it involved racing and I was attracted to it because it had French words, and I like to pretend I am cultured.
How to Play Mille Bornes
The instructions for Mille Bornes can seem overwhelming at first. My advice is to thoroughly read the rules before you sit down with the kids. If you don’t have time for that, (and who am I kidding, I didn’t follow my own advice) read the rules aloud in full before you and the kids begin game play. However, like most games, once you get the rules down, things seem simple and you wonder how you were ever confused in the first place.
In a nutshell, the goal of the game is to be the first player to complete a certain number of virtual miles. There are several varieties of cards: distance, hazard, repair, safety and so on which can be played to advance or impede others, as desired. Players advance through distance cards, but others can play a flat tire card on you and so on.
The instructions offer up variations to make the game simpler or more challenging depending on the age of the players. Team play is also possible.
Tips for Playing Mille Bornes
As usual, we dispensed with the scoring system. This is our family preference and I generally recommend it as a way to help out when you have young kids, or kids who have difficulty with losing. Keeping track of points can be stressful.
If you have younger kids, play on teams. Team play is outlined in the instructions.
Hasbro recommends Mille Bornes for kids ages 8 and up. My 7 year old understood the instructions without any difficulty and played independently. I think 5 or 6 year olds can play with an adult at the table, or as part of a team. I don’t recommend the game for kids under the age of 5. It can be played with 2, 3, 4 or 6 players.
Why Play Mille Bornes?
Mille Bornes is primarily a strategy game. Players must decide if it is better to advance themselves along the route, or to impede another player. It is also a game that requires good sportsmanship and patience. Kids will also exercise their math skills as they count the miles towards their goal.
My verdict? Mille Bornes: Classic Racing Card Game is très jolie.
More card games, and our family tips for playing:
- Sleeping Queens – a card game with a mathematical twist
- Zeus on the Loose – memory and math skills for gods and goddesses
- Skip-bo – a classic card game
- Swish – a game of visual perception
*There is a similar card game, “Touring“, which predates Mille Bornes.