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For 2, 3, 4, or 6 players
Ages 8 & up
110 poker-sized cards
Plastic card tray
Object of the game
Mille Bornes is a vintage racing card game that is a lot of fun to play individually or in teams of 2. It is of French origin with the pronunciation meel-born and the translation meaning 1000 milestones.
According to the classic game rules, the goal is to reach 1000 miles or more. Players build mileage by laying down distance cards, and your opponents will try to play traffic hazards to prevent you from moving ahead. You will have to remedy these hazards to continue racing along and, in turn, create hazards to slow your opponents from progressing on their trip. Even better, protect yourself with safety cards to prevent specific hazards from happening to you. The person to first reach 1000 miles or more is the winner!
Starting the game
My husband and I have enjoyed this classic card game for years. We prefer to play this with only 2 or 3 players. However, you can have 4 or 6 players playing in teams of two sitting across from each other.
First, to set up the game, remove the six reference cards illustrating each action and safety card. Next, give each player a quick reference card, and shuffle the rest of the deck. Then, deal out six cards to each player, placing the remaining cards face-down in the middle of the table to create a draw pile. The youngest player starts, and play proceeds in a clockwise direction.
How To Play
Mille Bornes is played until one player or team reaches 1000 miles or more. In some variations, you can play this game in rounds up to a designated total. For example, my husband and I play the game until someone reaches a total of 5000 miles or more. We also play that you must race to exactly 1000 miles in each round; however, reading the classic rules, it appears you can go over.
Play begins with the first player drawing a card from the draw pile, making their hand seven cards. Then they must either play a card to their driving zone or play a hazard on an opponent. To start “driving”, a player must first play a green “Drive” card or the Emergency Vehicle in their driving zone. On future turns, they will now be able to play distance cards.
If you cannot play a card onto your own layout or to your opponent’s side, you must discard one card face-up into the discard pile. Your turn is then over, and now the player to the left starts their turn.
As cards are played throughout the game, they are placed in a layout in front of you. There is a speed limit pile, a drive pile, a distance pile, and a safety or Coup Fourré pile. The distance cards are sorted by value to simplify the calculation of the total number of miles driven. Note that you can only play a limit of two (2) 200-mile cards during a game. The race won’t allow a player to go that fast!
(insert picture of card layout)
If you happen to run out of cards in the draw pile, the original instructions say to reshuffle the cards from the discard pile to recreate a new one.
Quick Reference Of Cards
Here is a quick overview of the meaning of the cards used during play.
Green Remedy Cards
There are five green remedy cards, including Drive, End of Speed Limit, Gas, Spare Tire, and Repairs. If you encounter a hazard along your trip, you will need to play the corresponding remedy card first before you can play additional mileage cards. In the classic rules, you do not need a drive card again after remedying a hazard. This is a rule that is new to me as my husband and I have always played that you need to put down another drive card after a remedy, so I’ll have to let him know we have been playing wrong all these years! ?
The green remedy cards are:
Drive – Allow you to start your race
End of Speed Limit – remedy for a red speed limit card
Gas – remedy for a red out of gas card
Spare Tire – remedy for a red flat tire card
Repairs – remedy for a red accident card
Red Hazard Cards
You can play five different red hazard cards on your opponent to stop them from playing distance cards. If a player uses a hazard card on you, fix it with the corresponding remedy card during your turn. You can also call a “Coup Fourré” when someone plays a particular hazard on you if you are holding the corresponding blue safety card in your hand. More on that in just a bit!
Note that you keep your Speed Limit and End of Speed Limit cards separated from your Drive Pile. In addition, a player cannot receive two hazard cards simultaneously on their drive pile. However, they can be the victim of a hazard on their drive pile and a speed limit on their speed pile at the same time.
The red hazard cards are:
Stop – Forces a player to stop their race
Speed Limit – a player must obey a speed limit playing only 25 or 50-mile distance cards
Out of Gas – the player is out of gas and must remedy with a green gas card
Flat Tire – the player has a flat tire and must remedy it with a green spare tire card
Accident – a player has gotten into an accident and must remedy it with a repairs card
Blue Safety Cards
A blue safety card protects you from a particular hazard throughout the remainder of the game. There are four blue safety cards. Safety cards should be played next to one another so that all players can see them during the whole game. For example, if you have played the safety card as a Coup Fourré move, position that blue safety card horizontally in your driving zone.
The blue safety cards are:
Driving Ace – this protects the player from any accident hazard
Emergency Vehicle – protects against any stop AND speed limit hazard (the only safety to protect you against two things!)
Puncture Proof – this protects the player from any flat tire hazard
Fuel – protects against an out of gas hazard
If you are holding a blue safety card in your hand and an opponent plays that corresponding red hazard card into your driving zone, declare “Coup Fourré.” This cancels the hazard you have just received, so remove the card and put it in the discard pile. Place your Coup Fourré at the top of your driving zone in a horizontal position. Next, draw a card to replace the blue safety card you just played. Immediately play again by drawing a second card and taking your turn. Then play continues with the player to your left. If any players are between the player that tried to impair your turn and yourself, they all lose their turn—wah wah.
At the end of the round, you will score 200 points for each Coup Fourré! In addition, the safety provides you protection against any other related attacks for the remainder of the game.
Players team up into pairs, and each duo will use cards from their 6-card hand. However, the cards are played into the same shared driving zone, and players will alternate taking turns for their team. Be sure to position yourselves in a way that all team members can reach their shared driving zones.
How To Score And Win Mille Bornes
Each distance card is 1 point per mile traveled. So once you reach 1,000 miles, that is 1,000 points. Safety cards are worth 100 points when played, and a Coup Fourré is worth 200 points. In the classic rules, the first player or team to go over 1,000 miles wins the game.
- For a faster play, once a hazard is played, the player can immediately place the corresponding remedy card down from their hand. Then they draw another card to replace that card and play resumes. Unlike the special Coup Fourré move, this does not gain you any additional points.
- When your turn begins, instead of drawing one card, you may choose to discard your entire six-card hand and replace it with another six cards. Selecting this option then makes you skip your turn.
- As a more competitive option, players must reach 1000 miles exactly before winning the game.
- For an extended game, play in rounds where you have to reach 1000 miles during each round. The first player to earn 5,000 points wins!
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You can also find the Mille Bornes collectors edition card game here.