2017 marks the bicentenary of one of England’s best-known and best-loved authors. Jane Austen’s novels about love and the conventions of 19th Century society are more popular than ever and have been constantly re-adapted for the big screen and television. Although modern life is very different from Austen’s era, the passions, misunderstandings and social awkwardness still ring true; dating can be a ruthless game.
I first read Jane Austen’s novels while living in Hampshire, not far from the village of Chawton where she grew up. The sheer number of colourful characters who were looking to tie the knot while navigating the obstacles of polite society seemed like a game, so I felt compelled to make one!
Rather than focus on a single novel, I thought it might be fun to have all the characters in the same world, where they could meet up, and maybe even hook up. What would the formidable Mr Darcy make of the equally formidable Emma Woodhouse? Imagine if they got married and Mr Knightley went off with Fanny Price! And so Jane Austen’s Matchmaker was born.
In Matchmaker, you take characters under your wing and try to find them suitable partners. Some characters want to fall in hopelessly in love but others are more pragmatic - or just plain mercenary!
You'll discover your characters’ motives with the roll of a dice. Each character has a preference which makes them more likely to prefer a particular ‘trait’ - Charm, Virtue, Rank or Fortune.
Making a suitable match – for example marrying one of your gold-diggers to a rich suitor – will earn you more prestige. The player who earns the most prestige wins the game.
You can gain even more prestige by earning the approval of patrons. Mrs Norris only approves of people with a good fortune whereas Lady Bertram is more impressed by charm.
In addition to making matches, you can invite characters to prestigious residences to boost your prestige still further. Make sure you invite the right sort of guest, they don't approve of riffraff at Mansfield Park!
The original Matchmaker card game was intended for social play (3 or more players) but I received many requests for a 2-player variant. Jane Austen's Matchmaker: Chapter 2 was designed with this in mind.
Whether you play head to head or with up to three other players, you must assess each proposal and your chances of coming out on top, before you accept or decline.
I commissioned UK illustrator Emily Hare to create the likenesses of the eligible ladies and gentlemen for the original game. For Chapter 2 I wanted to add a supporting cast of the matriarchs, well-wishers and oddballs that make Jane Austen’s stories so memorable, from the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh to delightfully awkward Miss Bates.
I also wanted to include the residences that feature so prominently stories – Pemberley, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey to name but a few. I think Emily has done a fantastic job bringing the people and places of Austen's world to life.
£7,000 Linen finish cards - ACHIEVED!
For smoother shuffling and a luxurious game experience.
£8,000 Black core cards - ACHIEVED!
The most resilient type of playing card for improved longevity.
£9,000 Deluxe box adornment
Spot varnish on box to make Matchmaker the perfect gift for any Jane Austen fan.
£30,000 Exclusive cards
Meet Lady Susan from the eponymous novella (and the film Love & Friendship). This stretch goal will include a set of 4 extra cards with specially commissioned artwork, exclusive to Kickstarter backers.
The games will be sent to you by respected fulfilment service Games Quest. They did a terrific job with my last Kickstarter project Game of Blame.
Risks and challenges
I’ve worked in the games industry for over two decades and this is my third Kickstarter – although it’s never a good idea to be cocky! The game design is complete, so only production remains. The success of the project will determine where manufacture takes place and consequently how long it will take to produce. I’ve calculated what I consider to be the ‘worse case’ scenario for delivery dates.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)