LE TOUR DE FRANCE
Maison du Café, France, ca. 1996
This is a simple promotional quiz-game sponsored by Maison du Café. It consists of a 24 x 31 cm board, a set of 20 cards, four plastic pawns, and a die. As far as I know, it never had a box, though most likely the elements of the game were gathered in some kind of wrapping to keep them together. This game does not even have a proper name. I have interpreted the "Le Tour de France" logo on square one to be the name of the game, but I could as well have chosen "Maison Du Cafe Tradition" to be the name of the game (and at least I would have had an original name for this one).
It would have been nice if the towns named on the board had matched the stages of an actual Tour de France. It would have allowed to date the game. However, this is not the case. The first town we find, Strasbourg, has only been the start of the Tour de France twice, in 1953 and 2006, both of which years are outside the range of possible dates (see below). The second town we find, Luxueil, has never been the start or finish of a Tour de France stage.
According to the rules, there are three types of squares, two of them determined by the colour of the kilometric points, and the "Maison du Café Tradition" squares. However, there are also white unnumbered squares not mentioned in the rules.
On the "Maison du Café Tradition" squares, players can choose between answering a Tour de France-themed question or a French gastromomy question. You can play the game even if you don't know anything about cycling. (The gastronomy questions,however, are not easy, at least for foreigners.) But who wants to play this game anyway?
We cannot use the towns on the board to date the game, but we can still date the game with some precision based on a few elements.
a) The most recent date to appear on a question card is 1989. The game is obviously later than that.
b) The Tour de France logo displayed on the game was the official Tour de France logo until 1996, as far as I know.
c) According to the site cyclingmodel.over-blog.com, the Maison du Café caravane "constituée de 3 Fiat Ulysse surmontés de tasses à café" started on the Tour de France in 1996.
So my guess is that this game must have been produced around 1996.
Notice that Maison du Cafe still sponsors the Tour de France (and produces Tour de France-related games) through their brand Senseo.
Thanks, Didier, for the tip
Description written in October 2023
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