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Mille Bornes (codex99.com)
108 points by patrikcsak on Sept 5, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 57 comments

When I was in 7th grade I used ResEdit to do a total conversion of the Macintosh version of Mille Bornes for a French class project. The provided theme was “La Vie Est (Et?) Belle.”

My French teacher really had no clue how to receive it. He didn’t really understand how I made an entire computer card game. My more tech aware home room teacher went to bat for me and eventually I won a school award and got to eat lunch with the principal.

This was definitely a formative moment in my computer programming career.

There are even games which are basically ResEdit'ed Mille Bornes. One is Grass[0]; what are others?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grass_(card_game)

... which leads to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touring_(card_game)

I've played Touring many times!

My grandparents had it, and we used to play all the time in the 1970s and 1980s. The deck they had was a real antique even back then.

I think they actually had two decks. Based on photos from BoardGameGeek[1], one deck was probably from the 1940s and the other from the 1920s or 1930s.

It was a fun game, and even as a kid I enjoyed the cool retro art.


[1] https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2253/touring/versions

Mille Bornes is a clone of Touring plus a few things:

Dujardin described 1000 Bornes,1 as “la Canasta de la Route,” but the game is not based on canasta but rather on William Janson Roche's 1906 classic Touring, with the addition of safety cards and the novel Coup fourré play. - the article at hand


Note that French typically does not capitalize individual words in a title as English does.

Thank you for both notes!

I played this a ton as a kid, and to this day, I sometimes shout Coup-fourré! when I have an instant rebuttal to something...

I knew there were a few different editions, but had no idea there were so many! My family's set is the 1960 design.

My 8 and 11y old daughters love playing it. They really don't mind the old card design. We also built a "circuit" with cardboard where we use my old micro machines cars to visualize our trip.

We also play with our own rules where there is no need to find a greenlight after reparing/changing wheel/refueling the car. Otherwise it is always the player getting the 'véhicule prioritaire' (aka firefighters card) who win and it spoils the fun.

My kids have the Cars movie version of the Mille bornes. In my mind, the Cars design ruins the whole game, it's no longer special to me. Plus it's really hard to tell the card types without looking carefully at the small logos in the corners. All the cards have cars on it! It just feel like any random cheap Disney board game.

I'm feeling old. :D

Us/me too! The besssst feeling in the world!

In the summer of 1997 I actually made my own Mille Bornes card set by hand (after finding the card distribution on the (new) web) to pass the time while studying in Taiwan.

There is no feeling better than seeing that green diagonal stripe of a safety flash in your hand when you pick a card...it's electric!

Same. Played it so much in the 80s with a bilingual variant of the Callennec design. The cards were beautiful.

If you have a BSD system, or if you have bsdgames installed, you can run "mille" to play Mille Bornes. This version was done by Ken Arnold, who also created the curses library. Even better, I seem to remember that Mille Bornes was the first program to use curses, but I can't find a citation for that now.

And on Debian and presumably derivatives there are packages xmille as well as bsdgames which includes mille.

edited for reduced ambiguity.

xmille is no longer (since bullseye) a package in Debian, instead xmille is provided by kgames.

I'm not sure if it was first, but I know curses was instrumental in making Rogue possible (which in turn eventually inspired an entire genre of games). The Rogue authors used curses and Ken Arnold eventually ended up contributing directly to the game.

And if that's the same program I played (30ya, argh), the computer managed to win on a regular basis. Proof of (a) good in-game AI, or (b) the role of luck, or (c) my ineptitude.

We played this a lot with my babysitter growing up. It's fun for kids, and the graphic design on the older editions is so slick and jet set era. But I'm a little weirded out by this, because I've heard about Mille Bornes twice in the last week, and not a single time in the 30 years prior to it.

I'm weirded out because I thought about the game for the first time in about 15 years just a few days ago (after seeing a speed limit sign and a severe tire damage sign in close proximity to each other) only to have it pop up on HN.

It's weird because we don't notice the millions of times coincidental real-world follow ups don't happen

Good point. Also stuff often comes in waves (as opposed to a random distribution over time) due to network effects, etc.

French here, I recently read the original description of the game from an original edition of the game when I went to a friend’s old place, and I was laughing out loud for real. The description is brilliant! Just the right amount of self-derogatory arrogance needed to make me laugh :)

I had played it before, but it was the first time I read the original rules book.

We played a lot of this when I was a kid… our edition had the 1960s French artwork. When my sister bought a new copy a few months back to play while my dad was in the hospital, she made sure to find one with the classic artwork. It really is a lot more charming than newer styles.

Could you maybe give a link to where she found it? Thanks.

She got it off of Amazon, but I'm not sure which of the ones listed was the one she ordered. Sorry :-(. This one looks most similar: https://www.amazon.com/Classic-Fast-Paced-Strategy-Playtime-... but I'm pretty sure it had the French text on it, not English.

Weird. We started building a Mille Bornes clone game at work last week based on a particular data problem we are facing.

This game is great. Practice yelling in French.


In my gameplay circle it was equally frequently COUP SOUFFLÉ!

The last time our family played it became frustrating: one team being unable to even get their car rolling off the starting line — waiting, waiting for the magic cards to fix a flat, get a green light, etc. The opposing team had wonderful hands and were ruthless.

I kept thinking that there's a fun game in here, but not with the current rules/deck. I think a driving game should have more driving ... less sitting around broken down. It was more fun when both teams were rolling along in the race, trying to inch past one another with the milestone cards.

The whole "waiting for a green light to just start" is the problem, I think. We have house rules that limit the cases where you need a green light, and the pace is much better. And less frustrating.

New house rule : It's illegal to say you have a house rule without citing said house rule.

Coup-fourré! I play my Grognard card sideways and block your unofficial rules.

Fair enough! IIRC (it was a long time ago) we did not need a green light to start except after a red light. This avoids the first player reaching 500 km with the last one having yet to actually start. You need to remove a couple of green lights because otherwise there are too many of them, though.

>I kept thinking that there's a fun game in here, but not with the current rules/deck.

Exactly what I thought as a preschooler.

We had a neighbor with another preschooler and they had a treasure trove of toys left over from his older brothers who were more than 10 years older.

But Mille Bornes was not one of the old ones, it was like new and nobody had ever gotten much use out of it.

This was why, and we quickly made up entirely new games using the cards in combination with a number of other rapidly emerging plastic playthings.

Got this recently for my kids and was pleasantly surprised that the current rules no longer require a GO card after recovering from an incident.

In that case the Priority card is a lot less valuable! (maybe that's OK)

someone funnily, my mother refuses to play this game because the broken down mechanics are extremely unfun, borderline triggering for her.

makes me wonder if it's a bad experience, or if there some some personality trait that makes these games unfun for some.

We had a set when I was a kid in the 70s in the US. I might still have it. We played it a lot. It wasn't a hard game, and it was a simple way to pass some hours. Lots of good family memories there.

I used to play a lot of this with my grandmother and cousins when I was a child. Later I happened to work in the factory mentionned in the article, which was at the time rented as warehouse and office for an E-commerce company. There was a huge Dujardin logo painted on the outer wall, which was preserved when they repainted the building [0]

[0] https://maps.app.goo.gl/2HMq4m4qkCH6FtYa6

Never played it, but as a child i played a lot of a very similar (i believe) game called Nautic Miles, in which you try to get your convoys across the ocean in the face of various attacks from your enemy. The moves (that i can remember) are to play a convoy card of some value from your hand, face down; to add a miles card to a convoy (scoring it if it reaches 4000 miles); to expose one of your opponent's convoys using a radar card; to stop one of your opponents' convoys using a storm card; to release one of your storm-bound convoys using a fair weather card; to sink one of your opponent's convoys using a mine card (unless they can counter with a minesweeper card); to attack one of your opponent's convoys with a warship card (which they can counter with a stronger warship card, which you can counter with a yet stronger warship card, etc); and some form of air attack, which could be foiled if your opponent had an aircraft shot down card. There was also something about alerts; maybe you had to lay an alert card on a convoy before you could attack it (except with a mine!).

How many times did i successfully press an attack, at the expense of multiple cards, only to discover that i had sunk the worthless chalutier?

It dates from the '80s, but has rather elegant art deco card designs:



I played it about 50 years ago. Did one occasionally have a chance to exclaim "au secours"?

One of the teens who baby sat my sister and I had this game. It's great reading comment of others who enjoyed this game as much as I did.

Simple game but was part of my childhood as well.

I tried to introduce it to my board game group, alas it's too simple for them to appreciate. Ah well.

I have a deck of these cards from the 80s in very good condition (except the box is not in good shape). Let me know if you want it and if you live in Seattle I'll give it to you (or I can mail it if you want to pay shipping).

I was not expecting to read about Mille Bornes today.

The original graphics stand up pretty darn well.

Set the Way-Back machine to 1974. I was not quite 4 years old. I loved the game.

So much that when we moved that year, my parents conveniently "lost" it for a few months.

I remember playing this several years ago. I'm convinced that the Right of Way card is massively overpowered. It felt like whoever got it basically always won.

In more recent versions they changed the rules to not require a GO card after recovering from an incident card so the right of way card got nerfed a bit. It's still OP though.

I played many hours of this game with my brothers on a 1990's Shareware CD. Great memories, and we always had a great time playing!

The part that kept me coming back as a child was feeling of completely stonewalling my little brother and getting a "shut out"

Belgian here, (not French) our family played this a lot. I don't remember how to play it, but I remember it being tons of fun.

We bought the 'Mario'-themed version of Mille borne: what a mistake! The original version is much more understandable..

Loved that game. I played those 1982 cards as a kid with my mom when we'd go on skiing trips.

There was a version of this for the 68k Macintosh that I played the heck out of.

I remember playing this as a kid! Must have been more than 25 years ago...

nothing screams "professional" like putting quotes around French spelling mistakes.

What's the point here? That a French editor doesn't know the gender of the word "édition"? Highly unlikely.

I'm very grumpy today.

The French editor didn't brand it as an «édition», no spelling error on its side.

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