Vintage Tabletop: Touring

Touring (1937)

For the deluxe presentation of Touring, head over to the Touring page on the main site.

In 1906, cars were still considered a luxury item in the United States, well beyond the reach of the common folk.  And yet two years before the legendary Model T ushered in the era of affordable automobiles for the masses, the now-defunct Wallie Dorr Company figured the time was right to capitalize on what was still a niche product.  And to do so they unveiled a new card game based on the expensive, newfangled horseless carriage – Touring.

You probably haven’t heard of Touring but you’ve likely heard of its successor, Mille Bornes.  The idea is the same, really.  Players are engaged in a race of X miles (the figure changed over the years), and can play delay/hazard cards to stop or slow down their opponent.  If you play a mileage card, you move that much further along.  If your opponent gives you a delay card (Out of Gasoline, Puncture, or Collision for instance) you must play its opposite card (Gasoline or Hauled In).  So on and so forth.

Touring proved popular enough to be snatched up by Parker Brothers in 1925, and they continued to produce it (with periodic updates to the images and mileage amounts) for another 50 years under the name.  In 1960 Parker Brothers purchased the rights to a similar game from France, and began marketing it in America as Milles Bornes.  The company continued to sell both games until 1975, when Touring was discontinued.  Mille Bornes is still around.

The edition I own and am sharing here has a 1937 copyright, when the goal of the race was 110 miles.  The 1906 edition’s goal was 50 miles, and by 1958 the total had increased to 590 miles.  110 miles doesn’t seem like a lot, but the highest card was 30 miles and that could only be played in certain circumstances.

But enough about the game — let’s take a look at some of the cards!

Touring - card back
The card back, a lovely shade of green.

Touring - 30 miles
The prized 30 Miles card. Dig those speed lines!

Touring - Collision
Collision! “Pardon me sir, I do believe you’ve struck my transport.”

For a slideshow of the whole set, including the box and instruction sheet, click here.  For a look at the 1957 edition, click here.