The Battle of Versailles (Saturday Review)


Release Date: 2024Players: 2 (only)
Designer: Eloi Pujadas, Ferran RenaliasLength: 30-45 minutes
Artist: Malen CompanyAge: 10+
Publisher: Salt & Pepper GamesComplexity: 2.5 / 5
Plastic (by weight): unknownAir (by volume): unknown

The Battle of Versailles is on Gamefound right now >>

This week, Hope Thompson joins us on the blog with her review of a game about the fashion show held in 1973 in Versailles, France that pitted newcomer American designers such as Anne Klein, Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows and Bill Blass against the stalwart French designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro, Pierre Cardin and Christian Dior. In this article, Hope‘s father, David Thompson, talks to her about her experience of playing The Battle of Versailles by Eloi Pujadas and Ferran Renalias from Salt & Pepper Games.

David Thompson: “Hey, Hope, how are you?”

Hope Thompson: “OK.”

DT: “We, well you, were invited by Tabletop Games Blog to do a guest review on a game we’ve been playing a lot lately: Battle of Versailles. So let’s take, like, one or two minutes to tell people who you are.”

HT: “My name is Hope. I’m David Thompson‘s daughter.”

DT: “All right. So we’ve been playing this game called Battle of Versailles. It’s a two-player game. It’s on Gamefound right now. It’s being published by Salt and Pepper. It’s exclusively for two players and it takes about 30 minutes to play. That’s what it says on the box and that’s pretty much been our experience. It’s been about about 30 minutes. Right. So what we’re going to do for this interview is, I’m just going to go through and ask you some questions and we’ve played, to give people that are reading or listening to it, we’ve played this probably, like, six or seven times, would you say?

So we’ll just go over some basics. OK. Let’s not bury the lead though. What do you think about the game?”

HT: “I like it. It’s really fun. It’s definitely a strategy pro game, which is fun, and the card games are fun too, so I like it. It’s really fun.”

DT: “OK. So two thumbs up, two Hope thumbs up.”

HT: “Two thumbs up.”

DT: “OK, alright. So let’s talk about it. So what is, in your mind, what is the game about, The Battle of Versailles? What do you know about it?”

HT: “That I guess it was, like, a fashion battle between the French and the Americans.”

DT: “Yeah, we, you know, we haven’t dug into too much detail. It was a fashion show between the Americans and the French. So the French were, like, the establishment basically. And the Americans were, like, the newcomers. And I think it’s 1973, is when it’s set, right. When you were playing the game. How do you think the game helps tell about that fashion show at all? Like, do you learn anything about it by playing the game?”

HT: “Personally, not as much, but…”

DT: “Like, you don’t learn the details, no”

HT: “No, you wouldn’t learn the details by looking at the game, but it does a good job of, like, showing some detail within, like, the designs and, like, how some dresses might be set up during that time. Like, how many dresses back in, like, 1973 would have been, like, styled and worn, if that makes sense.”

DT: “Yeah. So let’s talk about that real quick. The art in the game is not like typical board game art.”

HT: “I really, really like the art. It’s beautiful and they do, like, a good job, even with the people. You can tell it’s a bit more hand-drawn, if that makes sense, like, with, like, dresses, you can see, like, how they would flow and the colours that are put together are, like, really good. I really like it.”

a close-up of one of the dress cards in The Battle of Versailles showing a purple dress
Hope’s favourite dress (Photo courtesy of David Thompson)

DT: “Yeah, I don’t know the exact specifics, but I think that they had an artist, like a company, that actually does art for fashion magazines and stuff, do the art for the game.”

HT: “Yeah, it’s very magazine.”

DT: “Yeah, like a fashion magazine, right? Yeah. Can you give like a very brief overview of the game, like just generally how it plays?”

HT: “On, you just kind of exactly, you just walk through the tiles like you draw your cards and then you take turns playing your cards and some, there’s actions on the event cards that will cause you to flip over a player card action or draw the cards, and then once you get over here, you get to the income tiles and you place your cards face down and then you would flip them and whoever has the most income would draw two tiles. Then the losing person, the person who had less amount of money would draw one tile and then you would come and you would do those actions. Then you would go to the designers and see if you completed the objectives that the designers are looking for. Then you get to the, like, the scoring part and you see the prestige and you see, you would add up the points on your cards if they’re showing, you would look at the stars and you would calculate how much you’ve earned throughout the round and then you would start the round over.”

DT: “Yeah, it’s a really clever way, you know, there’s this, this physical representation of the runway and the runway model is moving down the runway and every time she moves to a new tile, you just take those actions. And so it’s a really clever way of tracking the actions over the round.”

HT: “And the model she progresses with you. So like, once you’ve done this action, you would, she would just walk to the next part and then she would keep going throughout the round. And then when that round was over, she would come back to the start and you would do that five times for the five rounds.”

DT: “So a few of the actions that you walk through, like drawing a card and scoring prestige and stuff, income, those are special ones, but most of the actions, five of the nine tiles, are play-a-card tiles. So there’s two types of cards in the game. There are dress cards and celebrity cards.”

HT: “And then there’s events.”

DT: ” And then events, yeah. So talk about just the dress card. I guess it’s the most basic card, right?”

HT: “Really, the dress card, it’s a picture of the dress. And then what, like, objective does that cover, your prestige points and then, if you wanted to, instead of playing your card here, you could play it face down for the point value at the bottom for the income or, cause there’s the slash, you do one or the other, or you could just play it for three cards and then you could, like, discard it so that you can earn those cards.”

DT: “Yeah, and event cards are very straightforward. You just play it for the event, it tells you what to do and the last thing is celebrities, right? So you can play celebrities.”

HT: “Right. So the celebrities, you would, because you take turns depending on who goes first, you would start face down and you could say: ‘OK, I’m going to play a celebrity.’ And then you play it up at the top with your others. And then there’s the, what, the special thing that they do. So this, she’s the singer and actor. She upgrades the income tile and when you upgrade the tile you just flip it over to the next best thing. And then you would do her power. And then there’s also powers listed at the top. So when I placed her, I got to take an extra card, but there’s multiple different, like, special things you could do depending on where you put it, and then, put the card, and then if you get all seven, I think, you win the game.”

DT: “An instant victory. That was an amazing segway into the last thing I want to talk about. So winning the game. So when you play the game, one thing we really didn’t discuss is you’re either playing as the Americans or the French, and they play very differently, right?”

a close-up of the model standee who walks along the game's runway
a close-up of the model standee who walks along the game’s runway (Photo courtesy of David Thompson)

HT: “Yeah. So they are, the instant victories are different for both, like, countries. So with the French, you are trying to either get 20 points at the top, you can see the yellow marker, it shows how many points you have, or you’re trying to get 15 of these little blocks at the bottom of the tiles, at the top, that also show more, like, special abilities that you can do. So, and then you can also do the seven celebrities. that’s with the French. For the Americans, basically, he would stack the cards like on top of each other and you were trying to get six different styles of dresses. Or you could do the 20 points.”

DT: “Yeah. That’s awesome. OK, well. I think that’s everything we want to talk about. Were there any final thoughts you had on the game?”

HT: “No. I just really like the game. I mean, the one thing I would ask for is, like, more variations of the model. I mean, obviously, she’s beautiful, right? But, you know, if there were more models and more dresses and you could mix and match depending on what you look like. But I mean, that’s really it, I really like the game. It’s a fun game. It’s very strategy-based. It’s a very card-heavy game, right? You’re just playing with your, like, deck of cards. Yeah, it’s a really fun game.”

DT: “OK. Thanks, Hope.”

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Transparency Facts

  • David Thompson was sent a review copy of the game by the publisher.
  • David Thompson has several games published by the publisher.

Audio Version

Intro Music: Bomber (Sting) by Riot (https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/)

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