Make Mine Mille Bornes

Stephen, JoDee's brother, had a birthday at the tail end of last year. Since we had already celebrated Christmas, JoDee decided we should find Mille Bornes, which is one of Stephen's favorite card games. Mille Bornes, for those of you who may not have had the same childhood we had, is a card game based on a cross-country driving tour, or road rally of some form. Unfortunately, none of us had seen a deck for sale in over 20 years. I seem to remember a tiff between the designer and Parker Brothers causing the game to be pulled from the shelves, but I couldn't prove it. So, we decided to check the Inkernet to see what was out there. To our amazement, there are decks in production! Unfortunately the only place we got a firm "yes, we have them" was from Amazon, and with Stephen's birthday only days away, we weren't about to risk it. So, we pressed on in the post-holiday traffic to quite possibly the worst place to go if you wanted to have any semblence of sanity: Toys R Us at a mall out-lot just days after Christmas. Talk about a traffic disaster. After inventing a few new swear words, we managed to get into the Toys R Us and have a look. Thankfully, the board games were close to the door, so we managed to duck into the safe-haven and have a look. Unfortunately, finding Mille Bornes was pretty much a fools-errand. We checked several stores in the area, and came up empty-handed. So, we had to do Plan B, which was decided long before Plan A was ever implemented.. Figuring the game was long since out of print, Plan B was to create the deck ourselves.

Having no clue how many cards were in the deck, or any other useful information, JoDee decided she could make a deck for Stephen using cardstock. Unfortunately, Plan B looked hopeless as well, as none of the places we went to had any single color card stock in any great quantity (we blame the scrapbooking community for that one). So, Plan C took hold. We went to Office Max and picked up some Avery Business Card sheets, and proceeded to make a Mille Bornes deck. I downloaded the images from the Wikipedia article, and used gLabels to print and re-print the sheets with all of the cards. Unfortunately, you could still see through the cards, so I turned them over, and printed a whole sheet of a design with "French for 1,000 Miles Game" on the backs of the cards. (And yes, I know that Mille Bornes doesn't mean "French for 1,000 Miles", but "French for 1,000 Milestones" sounds off to me). Since I printed them on a laser printer, I had to color some of the cards since the red light (stop) looked the same as a green light (roll, or go).
We put the cards into a box (100 cards in all), and gave them to Stephen. I think he was tickled that we went through all of the trouble to get him this game in one form or another. Naturally, we had to play a few hands.

So, if you decide to make your own Mille Bornes deck, here's a few pointers:

  1. Don't use a laser printer. By the end of three hands we all had some amount of toner on our hands. Apparently the toner didn't apply to the cards as well as one would have hoped. Good to know if you ever plan on giving out Business Cards. Ink jet is probably the way to go for this.
  2. gLabels is a great program for making business cards or labels of any kind. It made the whole process easy.
  3. My laser printer didn't feed the paper in throught the manual feed slot with any consistency. I had to conciously make a decision that it was OK to have the card edges print a bit off on each card.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. Now to give Stephen the real cards. :)