If you’ve ever wanted to experience what it’s like to work downstairs at Downton Abbey, but catering to the Crawley’s incessant demands isn’t something you could actually put up with, then the new (and super fun-sounding) Downton Abbey: The Board Game is for you!
Here’s how to play:
- Choose to be a maid or footman (sorry, only entry-level positions available — although, if you’re lucky you can marry into the family like chauffeur Tom Branson did) and then complete your assigned tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Starting in the Servants’ Hall, players are dealt Destination Cards with a number of bells that indicate the effort of the chore. For example, level 1 could be to serve dinner, 5 might be bringing the Dowager Countess her tea, and 10 is that Turkish fellow is dead and cold in Lady Mary’s bed, so do something about it.
- In order to tend to their tasks, players must roll the dice to navigate the labyrinthine residence. But nothing is as simple as it seems (in true Downton form, just when things seem perfect, everything can come crashing — pun intended — down #RIPMatthewCrawley) because Carson Cards can help or hinder competitors, and letters can call you to London at a moment’s notice (but beware, if your ex-wife accuses you of murder that trip could be a little longer than expected. I'm looking at you, Bates).
- While finishing your given jobs may be the end-game, taking a shortcut like Thomas Barrow would may not net you enough points to reign supreme (evidenced by the fact that Barrow is still underbutler despite his schemes and slimy attempts to climb up the ladder). Perhaps you should try following Anna Bates’s meticulous and careful (err, most of the time) lead and collect a higher reward by taking the longer route?
- The winner is the player who has completed all of his or her responsibilities and amassed the most bells. But, let’s be real, upstairs always wins, no matter what.