During this past Thursday, our class got together to play Ladies and Gentlemen, a cooperative board game where players are split into teams of two, a Lady and a Gentleman, who each have very different roles in the game. The Ladies are playing a card drafting game as they attempt to set up boutiques and create the best outfit for the upcoming ball. Meanwhile, the Gentlemen are playing a dexterity game as they race each other to try and acquire stocks in goods to sell or fulfill contracts. Once both the Ladies and Gentlemen have completed their tasks, the Ladies then pass over the garments and accessories that they picked out to buy during the day for the Gentle to either pay for, pay a much smaller amount to put them on hold until they can acquire more money, or discard them.
I personally played as a Gentleman during our session, though I could tell just from observing the other side of the table that the Ladies had a much more complex side of the game. During the entire time they were drafting their boutiques, shopping for their outfits and choosing which ones they wanted to ask their Gentleman to pay for, they had to consider how many elegance points these pieces had, whether they had a piece of that kind already, and whether they had too many designers or not. With all of those things that have to be considered at any given time, I would certainly say that drafting and choosing what cards to place in their boutique is the hardest part of this game, both due to the sheer amount of things that have to be considered for it to be accomplished successfully, and for the fact that all of that effort may end up being wasted if their Gentleman just simply wasn’t able to make enough money to pay for it. This difficulty in planning and drafting is only exasperated by the blind nature of the game, as Gentlemen are not allowed to share just how much money they have with their Lady, and Ladies are not allowed to share what clothes they are planning on trying to buy with their Gentleman until they are ready to pass them over.
However, while this planning may be the most difficult aspect of the game, it may also be an excellent window into what Ladies and Gentlemen can teach us about leadership. For one thing, Ladies and Gentlemen requires the Lady players to be able to plan out their turns without knowing exactly what resources they will have available to them, and to possibly make contingency plans by grabbing extra articles of clothing and accessories. Similarly, unexpected issues or shortages of resources may occur when working on a project, and a good leader will need to be able to plan for these possibilities. This could include contingency plans to work around those issues and shortages, or gathering more resources ahead of time to work around any shortages that may come up. Either way, a leader and their team creating plans like these ahead of time will help mitigate any issues that come up during whatever project they may be dealing with.
Overall, I very much enjoyed playing Ladies and Gentlemen as a Gentleman. The game can be quite tense if you struggle to find resources you need for contracts or if another Gentleman manages to fulfill a contract first and take your bonus. From everything I saw, the Ladies half of the game may be even more tense, and if given the opportunity I would be very interested in playing Ladies and Gentlemen again just so I can see what that half of the game feels like to play in comparison to the Gentleman’s half. However, even if I wasn’t able to attempt the game’s other set of rules, I would still most certainly be willing to play the game again to experience the chaos of a fake stock market.