Elaine and I had a short, 8 day break based in Toulouse and stayed in a studio apartment near the
city centre. We have visited this area of France many times, exploring Cathar castles etc., but we had never spent time in Toulouse itself, just flying in and out of the airport. This time we did not hire a car, but instead opted to use the excellent public transport network. We naturally took with us a few games to play in the evenings. On our first day we explored the city and tried to get our
That evening we visited the cafe, ‘Les Tricheurs’ (www.lestricheurs.com). The cafe had a reasonable selection of games (all with French rules) and we pondered what to play. It was still early so we chatted with the owner and she recommended the game ‘Lost Cities’ (or ‘Les Cites Perdues’). This is a 2-player game with simple rules, where players play cards in ascending order against 5 potential expeditions. You score the face values of the cards minus 20 for each expedition you undertake. In addition there are bonus cards (x2, x3, x4) for each expedition, which must be the first cards played against that expedition. The game is played over 3 rounds, and a round ends when the deck of cards is exhausted. A very simple mechanism, but hugely enjoyable and requiring a surprising degree of tactical thinking. After a couple of games, we decided to finish the evening with a game we know and love; ‘Sushi-Go’. We had a fun time and resolved to return latter in the holiday (which we did, playing more ‘Lost Cities’, plus games of ‘Hey, That’s my fish’ and ‘Carcassonne’; which was rather appropriate considering the region of France we were staying in.
It would appear that boardgaming is very popular in Toulouse and the surrounding area, because we found 2 more games shops in Toulouse itself, ‘Tire Lire’ and ‘C’est le Jeu!’, and were told of another gaming bar in a different part of the city. There was also a ‘Carcassonne’ tournament advertised taking place in Carcassonne itself. Whilst we were in Castelneudary, we noticed another boardgame convention being held there that weekend! So, all-in-all, the South West region of France is a hot-spot for anyone who enjoys boardgaming, in addition to being a beautiful region with wonderful food and wine. Highly recommended!