Set in 17th-century France, En Garde! is a semi-historical game/simulation representing many of the situations of that age. Taking its cues from the works of Alexandre Dumas, it is a game of swashbuckling and social climbing; of winning the hand of a fair mistress and duping the Cardinal's Guard.
First published in 1975 by GDW, En Garde! is an unusual game. It holds a curious position; on the one hand it is very simulationist, showing its roots in the Wargaming world. On the other hand, it is very much a story telling game, as the simulated events have a great framework in the underpinnings of the framing story. The game is better suited to play by mail/email than face to face gaming, though there are clubs that have met face to face at least monthly since the 1970s in ongoing campaigns.
Subtitled "Being in the Main a Game of the Life and Times of a Gentleman Adventurer and his Several Companions," En Garde! is basically a man-to-man combat simulation of dueling in 17th century Paris but with roleplaying-oriented options for things outside of dueling, such as carousing at the social club, wooing potential mistresses, and going off to war with the military.
Despite it's detailed dueling system, at its heart En Garde! is a game of social interaction, and acquiring status in the form of social influence, wealth, and position is the primary character motivation. Thus, every activity in the game- even the more military oriented ones- are geared toward that end, with a character's position being modified positively or negatively by his providence in these actions.
There are many variations on the game, and though it ceased publication originally in 1983, it has carried on with a very active fanbase, and it now back in publication by Margrams Evans Limited after passing back into Frank Chadwick's hands with the dissolution of GDW.
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