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Mille Bornes Card Game Review and Rules

How to Play | Review | Final Verdict | Comments

How to Play

Setup

If there are four or six players, teams play in pairs and sit across from one another. The six instruction cards are removed from the deck and the rest of the cards are shuffled. Each player is dealt six cards.

Playing the Game

Mille Bornes is played in rounds with the goal of reaching exactly 1,000 miles each round. A player’s turn begins with the player drawing a card from the draw pile. The player then either plays a card or discards a card.

Mille Bornes has four different types of cards.

Hazard Cards in Mille Bornes

First there are hazard, remedy, and roll cards which are all played to the battle pile. Roll cards are played to allow a player/team to play distance cards. Hazard cards are played against other players/teams and stops them from playing distance cards. A hazard card can only be played on top of a roll card or on another hazard card (in some versions of the game). Remedy cards are played on top of hazard cards in order to allow a player/team to play more distance cards. Here is a list of the different hazard cards and the remedy cards that need to be played to fix them.

  • Stop Card-Roll Card
  • Out of Gas-Gasoline Card and then a Roll Card
  • Flat Tire-Spare Tire Card and then a Roll Card
  • Accident-Repair Card and then a Roll Card

Speed Limits in Mille Bornes

Next there are Speed Limit and End of Limit cards. Speed Limit cards are played against other players/teams and prevents them from playing any distance cards other than 25 and 50 mile cards. End of Limit cards are played on top of Speed Limit cards in order to remove the speed limit.

Safety Cards in Mille Bornes

There are also safety cards that prevent hazard cards from being played against a player/team. Safety cards can either be played on a player’s own turn or when a corresponding hazard card is played against the player/team. Whenever a safety card is played, the player who played it gets another turn (skipping other players if necessary). Playing a safety card removes the corresponding hazard if it is impacting the player/team that played the card. If played in response to a hazard card being played, the player who played the card gets to draw another card. If the card is played during the player’s turn, it is played in the same direction as all other cards. If the card is played in response to a hazard card being played, it is played in the opposite direction to indicate how it was played for scoring purposes.

  • Right of Way-Prevents Stop and Speed Limit cards from being played against a player/team. The player/team that played the card can also play distance cards even if they don’t have a roll card exposed.
  • Extra Tank-Prevents Out of Gas cards from being played against a player/team.
  • Puncture Proof-Prevents Flat Tire cards from being played against a player/team.
  • Driving Ace-Prevents Accident cards from being played against a player/team.

Distance Cards in Mille Bornes

Finally there are distance cards. Distance cards can only be played if the top card on your battle pile is a roll card. Players can play whichever distance cards they want as long as they don’t have a speed limit card played in front of them. Each player/team can only play two 200 cards though. Players cannot play distance cards that will put their total distance traveled over 1,000 miles.

End of Round and Scoring

A round ends when either a player/team reaches 1,000 miles or all of the cards have been played. Players score points as follows:

  • Each player/team scores points equal to the number of miles they traveled.
  • Each safety card that is played is worth 100 points. If the safety card was played in response to a hazard card that was played, it is worth an additional 300 points. If a player/team plays all four safety cards they also receive an additional 300 bonus points.
  • The player/team that completes the 1,000 mile trip gets a 400 point bonus.
  • If a player/team finishes their trip after all of the cards have been drawn from the draw pile, the player/team gets 300 bonus points.
  • If a player/team doesn’t play any 200 mile cards and completes their trip they get 300 bonus points.
  • If a player/team prevents their opponents from playing any distance cards, they get 500 bonus points.
Scoring in Mille Bornes
This player/team will score as follows: 1,000 points for the distance traveled, 400 bonus points for finishing the trip, 200 points for the two safety cards played, 300 bonus points for the safety card played in response to a hazard card, and 300 points for not playing any 200 mile cards for a total of 2,400 points.

The game ends when one player/team gets more than 5,000 points. If two players/teams get over 5,000 points at the same time, whichever player/team had more total points wins the game.

Review

Yesterday I looked at the game Touring. Touring is generally considered the precursor to Mille Bornes since Mille Bornes borrows the basic concept from Touring along with a lot of the mechanics. I didn’t particularly care for Touring because the game relied way too much on luck and the hazards get way out of control. So with time to refine Touring and improve the gameplay, was Mille Bornes successful? While Mille Bornes is far from a great game, it does a good job of refining Touring into a solid little card game.

The main reason I think that Mille Bornes is better than Touring is that the hazard problem is better than it is in Touring. The hazard problem is not as bad in Mille Bornes for a couple reasons:

  • The hand size is larger in Mille Bornes.
  • The addition of safety cards give players ways to avoid getting hit with hazard cards.

While the hand size only increased by one card in Mille Bornes, that one card makes a bigger difference than you would think. The extra card gives you more flexibility in being able to hold cards as a precaution in case of a hazard card being played against you. In Touring you can’t hold a lot of remedy cards since you need to use some of your hand to hold the specific distance cards that you still need to play.

Another factor that influences the hazard cards are the safety cards. There are only four safety cards in the game but they have a huge impact on the outcome of a round. The safety cards are easily the most valuable cards in the entire game. Playing a safety card gives a player/team a big advantage since it makes it easier for a player/team to keep playing distance cards instead of wasting time dealing with a particular hazard. Once a safety card has been played, that player/team no longer has to worry about keeping the remedy card for that hazard. Each safety card is worth points as well so there really is no reason not to play a safety card.

The most interesting thing about the safety cards is that you can play them right away or you can hold them in your hand and wait to play them until another player plays the corresponding hazard card against you. This creates an interesting dynamic and could make a player/team second guess playing a hazard card if they think the player/team has the corresponding safety card. You want to prevent a team from playing a safety card in this manner since they will get 300 bonus points. They also get to take their next turn immediately so your teammate’s turn could get skipped.

For the most part I like the idea behind the safety cards since they speed up the game. They are good at preventing players from getting stuck in a never ending chain of hazards. The only problem I have with them is that they are way too powerful. Basically whichever player/team gets the most safety cards will likely win the hand. Preventing certain hazard cards is powerful enough on its own so when you add in getting points for playing the cards, they become too powerful. They can also lead to a lot of worthless cards getting stuck in players’ hands.

Even though the hazard cards don’t seem to impact the game as much as they do in Touring, they still have a big impact in the game. The player/team that gets hit with the most hazards will likely lose the hand since they are still quite hard to overcome. I honestly think the game should have considered implementing a system where you score points for each hazard you overcome in a hand. This would make players more hesitant to play hazard cards since they could be giving points to another player/team. With hazards still controlling the game, there is still a high reliance on luck in Mille Bornes. Whoever draws the best cards is going to win a given hand of Mille Bornes. While there is some strategy in Mille Bornes, you pretty much have to just lay back and see how the game unfolds since luck is going to play a bigger role in who wins than who has the best strategy. Strategy doesn’t play a huge role in Mille Bornes since it is usually pretty obvious what card you should play at any given time.

Other than reducing the hazard gridlock, I really liked the elimination of the requirement of playing specific distance cards like you had to in Touring. I thought it was a stupid idea forcing players to play specific distance cards since players could be way ahead and end up losing just because they couldn’t draw the one distance card that they needed. Letting players play any distance card they want is better since it adds more strategy to the game. You don’t have to wait for a specific card to show up (except for the end of a hand) and you get to make decisions on which cards you want to play.

The biggest decision regarding the distance cards is whether to play 200 mile cards in a hand. Since you get bonus points if you don’t play any 200 mile cards, you need to really consider not using them unless you fall behind. They make the trip much easier but the bonus points are really tempting. I personally think you should hold off playing them unless you fall behind quickly and need to catch up to the other players/teams quickly.

Another thing I like that Mille Bornes did was to reverse how the speed limits/freeway worked. In Touring players could only play the high mileage cards after they had played a freeway card. This made the game start really slow as players waited to get a freeway card. Players could easily take the freeway card away as well so it was hard to play high mileage cards. Mille Bornes actually reverses how this mechanic works allowing players to play any distance card unless a speed limit card is played against them. While players do get slowed down by these cards, it is not as prevalent as it is in Touring.

Overall I found the scoring system in Mille Bornes to be pretty interesting. It does make Mille Bornes a more difficult game than Touring. The scoring is not super complicated but it takes a while to understand all of the different ways to score points. For your first several hands you will need to reference the instructions/reference cards to see how many points you earned in a round. I like the scoring system though since it gives players some choices on how to play a given hand as they pursue different ways to score points.

Final Verdict

If I had to compare Mille Bornes and Touring, there really is no comparison. Mille Bornes is clearly the superior game in my opinion. Mille Bornes took the basics from Touring and tweaked them in order to eliminate some of the luck from the game. Mille Bornes is still far from a fantastic game since the hazards are still a problem and the game mostly relies on luck over strategy. Mille Bornes isn’t very strategic but is a simple casual game that you don’t have to put a lot of thought into.

My recommendations for Mille Bornes depends on how much you like casual card games. If you like Touring but have never tried Mille Bornes I would highly recommend it since I think Mille Bornes is the better game. If you like simple card games like Uno where you don’t have to put too much thought into the game, you should like Mille Bornes. If you like more strategy in your games though I don’t think Mille Bornes will be for you.

If you would like to purchase Mille Bornes, you can purchase it on Amazon here.


10 thoughts on “Mille Bornes Card Game Review and Rules

  • October 21, 2016 at 1:34 pm
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    Is it permissible to anticipate a hazard card being played against you, to pick up a discarded remedy card from the pile and simply
    augment your playing hand in anticipation of being hazarded Inquiring minds would like to know. This does not appear to be
    addressed in the basic rules? Thanks for your consideration

    Reply
    • October 23, 2016 at 5:40 pm
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      Based on my interpretation of the rules at the beginning of your turn you have to draw a card from the draw pile and are unable to take cards from the discard pile. I haven’t played the game in quite some time though and I wouldn’t consider myself anywhere near an expert on Mille Bornes. Maybe some versions of Mille Bornes allow you to take cards from the discard pile. If your version of Mille Bornes allows you to take cards from the discard pile or you allow it through a house rule, I don’t see why you couldn’t take a remedy card to be used against a future hazard card played against you.

      I hope this helps.

      Eric

      Reply
  • September 5, 2017 at 2:02 pm
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    your instructions are incorrect. According to parker brother, a hazard card can be played right on top of another haard card before the first hazard card has been remedied. However, after any hazard ard is remedied one must remember that a roll card must then be played before any additional miles can be accumulated.

    Reply
    • September 5, 2017 at 4:50 pm
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      Hello.

      Thanks for the comment. I am wondering if I made an error with the rules or if the rules have changed over time. Looking at a newer version of the rules it does state that you can play a hazard card on top of another hazard card. The newer rules do say that only the top hazard card has to be remedied though. When I can get to one of my older copies of the game I will have to verify if indeed the rules slightly changed over time or whether I made a mistake.

      Eric

      Reply
  • January 2, 2018 at 11:39 pm
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    In googling Mille Bornes rules, I do believe I found sets of rules that both specifically allowed and disallowed the playing of one hazard on top of another, but it seems to me that playing a hazard on top of another would almost always be a “bad play”. Not only does it remove the chance to hit your opponent with a 2nd hazard once they’ve remedied the first, it also allows for another chance at a “coup fourre”.

    I received a version of Mille Bornes this Christmas made by the company asmodee, and the rules this company includes have been SIGNIFICANTLY changed from the original. Not only does it remove almost all of the normal scoring, but also has you play to any number of miles of 1000 or over, has you re-shuffle the deck if it is exhausted before 1000, AND no “roulez” card is needed after the remedy of another hazard. Also, no “variant” is given for 2-3 player games. Their rules pamphlet says that there are variants of the rules on their website, but I found no such thing there – only a re-print of the included rules pamphlet. The deck, however, is identical to an original version Mille Bornes game, so I can just use the deck and print an old version of the rules to play by. One other annoyance with this version I have: No french words. My family and I had lots of fun pronouncing (and mis-pronouncing) the french words in the game when we played it so many years ago.

    This bastardized version of Mille Bornes I received is the reason that I started googling articles about it. No, it’s not a perfect game, but we did have fun with it, and like I said, goofing around with the french pronunciations only adds to the fun.

    Reply
  • June 7, 2018 at 8:28 am
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    If you have put a remedy card on top of your hazard card but don’t have a roll card yet and you draw the safety card corresponding to that hazard, can you still call a coup fourré?
    Thanks Huguette

    Reply
    • June 7, 2018 at 11:42 am
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      That is actually a really interesting question. It addresses a fringe case that I am unsure if the designers ever thought of.

      I want to preface this by saying that I haven’t played Mille Bornes in quite a while so I may not be familiar with all of the rules for these type of fringe cases. In order to call “coup fourré” you need to play the safety card in response to the corresponding hazard being played against you. In your scenario you have already partially corrected the hazard by playing the remedy card but you have not completely fixed it because you haven’t played the roll card. There have been some slight tweaks to the rules of Mille Bornes over the years so this issue may have been addressed in newer versions of the game. In the version I played though I don’t think this scenario was ever addressed. I personally see this as a situation where house rules are probably needed. I can see applying the rule either way as you could make an argument that the hazard was already remedied but you can also say that it was not fully remedied so it should still count. I would say in this situation I would go with whatever your group decides is right.

      I wish I could have been of more help.

      Reply
  • December 27, 2018 at 10:22 am
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    No. A coup fourre can only be called when you play the safety card immediately after someone plays the hazard card on you. It is a safety card played out of turn. After playing it, you pick up a replacement card and then it becomes your turn. If a safety card is played on your turn, it is not a coup fourre, even if the hazard has not been remedied.

    Reply
  • December 27, 2018 at 10:30 am
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    The published rules to Milles Bournes have changed considerably over the years, as the distributors of the game have changed. The current rules simplify the game considerably (which is a shame because it wasn’t that complicated to begin with). The biggest change is that there is no more scoring. So a game is complete after one hand. The new rules also allow for 2, 3, or 4 players playing individually or 4, 6, or 8 players in teams of two. What happens when the draw pile is exhausted has changed several times and is now ambiguous.

    I’m not sure why they changed things up, except to make it a quick and easy game. In my opinion, the game is far more enjoyable with the scoring system. The deck is also not big enough to support 4 players individually or 8 players in teams.

    If you’ve bought a newer version, get a copy of the older rules with the scoring system and use those. Fortunately, the deck has not changed, so you can still play the old game with a new deck.

    Reply
    • December 27, 2018 at 12:29 pm
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      Thanks for the help. It seems like a lot of board/card games that get reprinted a lot, change rules from time to time. Most of the rule changes are made to either fix rules or to simplify/streamline the game. While some of the rule changes actually make the games better, there are many instances where they just make the game worse. The good news with Mille Bornes is that you can just use an older version of the rules with the cards from a newer version of the game. Some of these bad rule changes are not so easy to remedy.

      Reply

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