“Cyrano de Bergerac” is a classic story that has left an indelible image in everyone’s collective consciousness, whether they’ve seen the play or not. We can all recall the long-nosed man whispering poetry from the bushes to help his friend woo the woman they both love. At the very least, we remember the nose.
Angele and Ludovic Maublanc certainly remembered this scene and decided it would make a great party game. In Cyrano, players write four line poems based on a random theme and two rhymes. This might sound intimidating for gamers who don’t have an interest in poetry, but the provided subject and rhymes make it very simple to create a fun poem.
The goal of writing these poems is to help Cyrano’s friend Christian woo the beautiful Roxanne, who sits in her tower bedroom. The most original poems give Christian the confidence to climb the ladder, and Roxanne will rush down to meet him when the most beautiful poems are told. Originality is determined by unique rhyming words, and beauty is voted on by other players. The first poet to make the lovers meet is the winner.
Cyrano comes with several pads of paper for writing the poems, but each sheet is also the scorecard. The scoring track is a colorful picture of the tower, and Asmodee was thoughtful enough to included several pencils. The rhymes and themes are on cards, and the cards fit into a tower stand so everyone can see the information. There are no instructions for building the tower, so it may take a few tries to put it together correctly. Once you do, it lets everyone fairly see all the cards at once.
I had a great time playing Cyrano, and I was impressed that the other players enjoyed themselves despite their initial reservations. None of us felt confident in our abilities to write a good poem, but our poems were entertaining enough that I kept our used score sheets. The down side of the game is that we found that it ran a little long, but it’s easy to adjust the length of play by starting higher on the tower. Players who really appreciate poetry could conceivably play this for hours.
Cyrano is a great game for parties, but I also think it would be great to have in the classroom. Obviously, it would be fun to play in middle school English classes, but it would be a great asset for foreign language classes as well. Four languages are printed on the cards, two on each side: English, German, Polish, and French. Party games always require the right group of players to properly enjoy the game, but Cyrano excels at breaking down those usual barriers. Poetry becomes simple and enjoyable thanks to this game, and you and your friends will be amazed at how creative you can find yourself to be.