Game Length: 30 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 4, 6 or 8 players who want a unique team game that pokes fun at traditional gender roles
The Ball is a scant few weeks away, and you haven’t a stitch to wear! If you’re going to be the talk of the town, you’ll need to pull together an ensemble that will delight the others, or at least leave them green with envy. However, the latest fashion doesn’t grow on trees, and you can’t dress to impress without splashing a little cash… your husband’s cash, that is.
Ladies and Gentlemen is a team game where each player is half of a Lady/Gentleman pair. The Ladies will be competing with each other to get the components of an outfit to take to the ball, combining clothing, accessories and jewellery. However, they can’t pay for it themselves – they’ll need to pass their choices over to their husband for approval and payment.
Meanwhile, the Gentlemen will be engaged in a mock stock market game, picking up goods in real time from the table and hoping to find combinations to fulfill orders, and make enough money to satisfy their wives’ appetites for fashion. At the end of the game, each Lady will calculate how many Style points their dress is worth, and the best-dressed pair will be the winners!
Ladies and Gentlemen pokes fun at Victorian-era gender roles. The world of the ladies is completely divorced from that of the gentlemen, and the only interaction between the two sides is when the ladies pass their purchases over to the gentlemen, who accept or decline to pay for them. Ladies are not permitted to talk about such things as money with their husbands, but other in-character discussion is encouraged and adds to the light-hearted fun of the game.
It can be difficult to find board games that host a large number of people simultaneously, and Ladies and Gentlemen does an excellent job at that. Both sides will be fully engaged with their respective tasks, and the game is well paced. As a gentlemen, you will have just gone through stock trading, only to have a pile of garments shoved in your face to be approved for purchase. As a lady, you’ll need to eye off what your competitors are aiming for, but can have your plans fall apart if your husband can’t afford what you’ve chosen.
The rules to Ladies and Gentlemen are not difficult, but actually teaching the game is. The Ladies play quite differently to the Gentlemen, and you’ll need to explain the rules to both sides – it’s like trying to teach two different games at the same time! If you are teaching the game, make sure you have read the rulebook back to front and understand both the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s rules before sitting down to play. For your first run, try to have an even number of players too – otherwise you’ll need to teach the rules for the Courtesan, who plays independently of a Gentleman – and that can wait until after everyone knows how to play.
Ladies and Gentlemen is a unique game that does something completely different. There are few team games in boardgaming, let alone those where each team member plays completely differently. If you frequently have a large number of people to game with, and they don’t mind a potentially lengthy first-time rules explanation, Ladies and Gentlemen makes an excellent and memorable choice.