I've been thinking about who my playable characters should be. There are a smaller number of single women in Emma looking for husbands, so to make the game playable by 6 players I might need to get creative. Here are my current ideas.
Emma Woodhouse: Emma might be the only Austen heroine in all the novels who really doesn't need to marry. She is completely financially set and has no need to marry what so ever. I was thinking of making Mr. Knightly the only suitor she could marry, but for high points. I think he'd also have to be quite difficult for her to get, having to earn many character points. (The story is about her growth after all...) Additionally, I feel like Emma should be able to interfere with other players somehow, maybe by being able to swap their character points around if she sacrifices a card from her hand?
Harriet Smith: Poor Harriet. She falls in love with everyone and ends up with a broken heart more often than not. I feel like she should get decent marriage points for everyone (like Charlotte) and maybe have a +2 Friendliness bonus at the start of the game. Top suitor is Robert Martin.
Jane Fairfax: The accomplished Jane can marry anyone, though her top points are for Frank Churchill. If she doesn't marry, she automatically becomes a Governess at the end of the game for 8 points. (Or something, I haven't done any math yet.) If this happens, perhaps her reputation points count double at the end of the game.
Augusta Hawkins/Elton: This gets a bit tricky. We don't meet Augusta until she arrives midway through the book married to Mr. Elton, who should start the game as one of the suitors. Perhaps an Event card in the deck could determine whether this marriage takes place before the proposal stage? Perhaps if they marry mid-game, their strategy changes to ensuring Jane becomes a governess or meddling in other's affairs...
Miss Bates: Austen uses Miss Bates as a warning about becoming an Old Maid. I feel like Miss Bates will automatically become an Old Maid at the end of the game, but gets +5 to her old maid roll. Since she can focus on acquiring whatever character points she wants, she should be on a pretty even playing field with the other players. Additionally, since she is financially poor, the other players will have to give her charity in the form of Character cards at certain points in the game.
Mr. Woodhouse: Emma's father does not want Emma to ever marry and leave him by himself. This is his greatest fear. He also tells Emma that she must stop matchmaking as it is very disruptive to his company. I think Mr. Woodhouse gets 5 points for every other player that is NOT married at the end of the game. So perhaps when he is instructed to draw and play a character card he instead removes one from one of the other players. Mr. Woodhouse would probably only be used for 5-6 player games.
Other possible playable characters include Anne Taylor though the book basically begins with her marriage to Mr. Weston and she has never struck me as all the interesting. Suitors would include Robert Martin, Mr. Elton, Frank Churchill, and Mr. Knightly. (And possibly Mr. Weston) There is also Emma's sister Isabella and Knightly's brother John, though they are married well before the book begins and makes things confusing with more than one Knightly available.
Do you have other ideas? Please comment below! Feedback and ideas are appreciated.