Castelnaudry, C.-P. Chrestien 1682.
12mo. [xiv], 53, p. Woodcut arms of the dedicatee Cardinal Bonzy on the title verso, all ornament and margins decorated in manuscript in ink and colors.
Old vellum decorated with a coat of arms by the same hand, later gilt-lettered spine label.
ONLY EDITION, THE ?FIRST TRANSPORTATION BOARD GAME. It was created by the engineer and cartographer responsible for planning and executing the project, now a World Heritage Site. The game capitalized on the completion in May 1681 of the Canal du Midi (then Canal Royal) linking the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of France. The game is played with two dice, which control the progress of the players along the course of the canal from the western limit at the Garonne lock to the deep-water port of Sette at the canal’s southeastern mouth. Engraved by Andréossy, the board is a route map with sixty-eight numbered positions — locks, bridges, stations, layovers, restaurants, towns, etc., their positive and negative values reflecting geography, construction difficulty, distances, size of the body of water, amenities and other features. The booklet includes considerable technical detail on lock dimension, basin surface, volume and the like. Long thought to be the first book printed in Castelnaudry, an important depot on the canal, this is certainly the most interesting of the five books produced there prior to 1700.
I have located eight copies of the Rules, all in France and none with the game board. With the assistance of Dr. Adrian Seville, I have identified four game boards, all also all in France and all independent of the Rules booklet. In good condition; a 20th-century owner has decorated the margins of the book with flowers, birds, etc.
¶Rolt, From Sea to Sea 35-7 & 83-5; Répertoire bibliographique des livres imprimés en France au XVIIe siècle IX: 61,4; Barbier, Dictionnaire des ouvrages anonymes IV: 193.