WHOOPS – A Notre Dame Fiasco

On April 15, 2019, a structure fire broke out beneath the roof of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. I have never been to Europe, but this is one of those monuments that I feel like I have been aware of all my life. Seeing it burn in video footage was surreal, to say the least. I don’t have a strong personal connection to the cathedral, but there was still a heavy sadness that comes with knowing this took place.

As board gamers, many of us couldn’t help but think about Stefan Feld’s game titled in the monument’s name.

A couple days after the fire, I noticed the 10th anniversary edition on Amazon at a nearly 50% markdown. I swooped in and ordered a copy for my family.

In anticipation of getting to play the game soon, I watched Rahdo’s runthrough of the game and then made sure to look through the rules once the package arrived.

Next up, sit down with family and give the game a go!

At least the red player (me!) is willing to donate to Notre Dame

— If you have ever taught a game, you know that it comes with responsibility. Everyone is relying on you to properly teach them how to play the game, the actions available and how to win. Furthermore, you have to make sure that players don’t get halfway through the game and feel like they missed something important. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get everything right, especially when you are new to the game yourself…but it definitely happens. If you are the one who did the teaching, though, it sure stings to know you missed something that had a negative impact on a player’s performance and/or appreciation of the game —

That said, I made a big goof. In the 2nd year of our gameplay, I unfortunately managed to run out of cubes in my personal supply. My assumption was that I couldn’t perform actions without cubes. Thus, I waited about 4 more rounds until my Trusted Advisor made it back into my hand to allow me to take more actions. My sister-in-law also managed to get herself into this predicament. I ended up contracting the black plague on multiple occasions and saw my victory point lead from the first year quickly erode. Needless to say, the two of us finished poorly and we were both a bit frustrated at a game mechanism that would just stop you from being able to perform actions. That’s brutal, Mr. Feld…just brutal!

In my 2nd play, I warned everyone to manage cubes wisely and yet another player fell into the No-Cube-Trap.

A couple days later, that friend sent me a message. It pointed me to page 7 of the rulebook:

Wow! That makes a lot of sense and suddenly makes the game much more enjoyable knowing you can always perform an action!


Oh well….maybe I was just teaching my family and friends a lesson. Just as it isn’t fair to see Notre Dame’s roof destroyed in a fire…you may not get to play Notre Dame fairly as well. But just as the Parisians will rebuild their beautiful monument — we gamers can try again and play the game the right way in the future!!!

(oh the shame!)

What about you? Any recent rules goofs that embarrassed you?

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