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"rallye banque" board game from Societe Generale

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    Posted 11 years ago

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    This board game was a premium given to customers of the Societe Generale bank in France. My French grandmother had it stored away in her apartment in Nice. I cannot help but imagine that she was saving it for the day when grandchildren would come to visit... But we all lived overseas and it was never played with.

    The game pieces are 5 plastic French cars about 1.5"-2" long: Citroen DS 19, Panhard Dyna Z, Peugeot 403, Simca Ariane and Simca Aronde. All are cars are plastic (marked "HO Jouet HO"). The plastic car models range from 1953-59 (Dyna Z) to 1957-63 (Ariane), to about 1955-196? for the Citroen DS 19, suggesting the game probably dates from the late 1950's. Also in the box was a Renault Dauphine which is metal (by Norev, this is the turquoise blue-green car at the lower right of the picture). I suspect my grandparents added this one in (because it is metal and also the six cars do not all fit into the designated spot in the box).

    The set includes bank notes and 10 franc pieces ("New Francs") and travelers cheques, as well as quite lovely miniature check books. The instruction sheet says that one can exchange used checkbooks for new ones at any Societe Generale bank office! Each player starts the game with a fixed sum of money, stocks and loan guarantee titles. They also identify a personal item (henceforth known in the game as a "bijou" -- or valuable) to be valued at 500 New Francs and which is vulnerable to theft, loss, et cetera.

    The game is supposed to simulate a road trip, during which one must keep from getting one's cash or valuables stolen (by opening a checking account, using travelers cheques, or by storing one's valuable "bijou" in a safe deposit box.) The person who finishes the game first doesn't necessarily win. Instead, the winner is the person who finishes with the most "capital" (in the form of cash, stocks, loan guarantees, valuables, or checking balance.)

    Before the game and at virtually every subsequent point in the game, players are encouraged to engage in transactions with "the Banker" (either a designated player or a third party), who must laboriously write all transactions on an account card. If transactions happen "a l'etranger" (in a foreign country) exchange rates must be calculated.
    I've been translating the instructions, and am imagining that the play must be quite slow. It appears that one can do stock market transactions, but I haven't gotten to instructions for calculating interest.

    I cannot help but wonder if this type of promotional game was common at the time. How long did S.G. offer it to their clients? Did they really give away replacement checkbooks? Was it a popular game? I'd be interested to know more about it..

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    1. modernscavenger modernscavenger, 11 years ago
      This is UNBELIEVABLY cool.
    2. fifthwheel, 11 years ago
      Glad you like it! I've since corresponded with the Archives service of Societe Generale. They have two of the boxed games (mine is in better shape!) and it appears that all the cars in my set are original, despite the odd one out that is metal. The Archivist did not have additional info about the game, and only a very rough date of around 1950-1960.

      My earlier description did not note that the illustrations/cartoons on the box and on the board itself appear to be of very high quality. I'm not an expert, but I suspect they were done by a well-known artist (they have a very familiar look to me).

      There are some truly odd things about the game. For example, the cars are not mentioned at all in the instructions. Also, they are given no value in the game. This is particularly odd since one is asked to imagine that a mundane object outside the boxed game like a watch or fountain pen is a valuable "bijou" worth 500 New Francs. Why not value the car? Now, wouldn't this have looked different if S.G. had partnered with, say, AAA to do the game? If the car had a value, then it could be devalued by accidents and re-valued after an accident by dint of being repaired...

      The stock market piece also appears to be quite cursorily handled.

      But overall, I agree that the game is quite cool!

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