Gamers logo

What's "Big Box" in French?

my recent board game purchase was ... interesting

By Katie KieslingPublished 3 months ago 4 min read

Let me share a funny story, about my recent journey to get the Carcassonne Big Box (base game + 2 expansions + 9 mini expansions):

I'm employed at my local game store, and for months I've been staring at the Big Box. My fiancé and I talked about the Big Box a few years ago, but he didn't want to get it because he had just bought me the base game for Christmas (which is fair, and I agreed at the time since we were both new to the game, and it was one of the first gifts he bought for me - I hold those things close to my heart). Fast forward to last month, we discussed it again, and he said it would probably be a good investment, especially since: a) we've played the game enough times to know it and like it, and b) it has been IMPOSSIBLE to get the first expansion (Inns and Cathedrals) so the Big Box seemed to be the only way for me to get the pink meeples I so desperately desired. By this point, I also figured we could probably give our original base game to a good home now, like to fiancé's brother who enjoys the game as much as fiancé does.

Within a couple days of having this conversation, someone bought the lone copy of the Big Box that was at my LGS - it had literally been there for MONTHS! "Oh well," I thought, "It's probably not the time anyways".

After Christmas, however, Indigo/Chapters (Canadian equivalent of Barnes and Noble, if you're not familiar) was having a boxing week sale ... and as a Plum Plus member, I receive an additional discount at Indigo/Chapters ... and I also had $20 worth of Plum points saved up. I was able to get the Big Box for essentially half price! What a deal right?

A week goes by, it comes in the mail, I open the box, I'm excited, I put the box on the table so that fiancé can see it when he gets home from work, I look the box again and again, and ... the box is in French. Wait, what?

If you're not familiar with Carcassonne, it is mainly a tile laying game - there are no words or anything to read, except the rules, which I can print from the Internet. So, not the end of the world, but I didn't open it right away because I decided to call Indigo/Chapters to see if we could get an English box (for ease and convenience).

Today, I phone and give my order number, explain the situation, and I'm put on hold. When she comes back, she asks me to open the box to see if the instructions are indeed in French (and no penalty if I decide to take it back to the store). I open it, they are ... and then she tells me the website says "French version only".

Again, having the French version of a game that requires no reading except for the rules is not a big deal - in fact, maybe this will encourage me to pick up French again! What bothers me about this situation is, I went back to the website to investigate this more. This box is the only one listed on the website - there is no "English version" and "French version", and in fact the title just says "Carcassonne Big Box" (first red flag: title isn't even in French). Then I read the description (second red flag: it's entirely in English), and I get to the last sentence (third red flag: "French version only" really should've been stated at the beginning of the description).

Could I have taken a closer look at this? Absolutely, 100%! I own my part in this, I need to be better at attention to detail (which, sometimes I am, but when it comes to games - reading rules, reading cards, etc. - I'm pretty bad for some reason). But why, in a dual-language country, would the company not just put everything in French for this particular item, making it blatantly obvious that the version customers will be buying will be entirely in French? Or, at the very least, state it clearly at the beginning of the description, or have it in the title? My fiancé commented on this as well, saying "There's definitely a French word for 'big', right? It could've said le grand box, or something."

I am not angry about this experience - confused, sure, but not angry. I actually loved watching my fiancé interact with the French on the outside of the box, as we guessed what each of the expansions would be called in English. I love languages, and as I said earlier, I kind of hope this gives us a chance (or at least me) to relearn some of my French. As well, I'm not gonna get a better deal price-wise than the one I got. I had the experience, I learned a lesson, I've said my peace, and now I'm moving forward with nothing but gratitude for having this incredible box in our possession now.


table top

About the Creator

Katie Kiesling

* 29, she/her, Canadian

* Reader, writer, lover of language

* Board game enthusiast, and wannabe board game designer

* Fiancée currently, Wife in May 2023

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.