Thurn and Taxis
English language edition
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(Worth 3,499 Funagain Points!)
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Winning the Spiel des Jahres in 2006, Thurn and Taxis takes the theme of the German post office and transforms it into a fascinating game. Players take turns building connecting routes of postal stagecoaches across Germany. Decisions must be made whether to build short, safer routes that may allow them to control territories, or to build longer, more lucrative routes. Fans of Ticket to Ride will enjoy the medium complexity of this game, as players may utilize one special ability each turn to help be the first to build routes in each area. Requiring planning and forethought, Thurn and Taxis is a rewarding experience for those who enjoy strategic games.
Players: 2 - 4
Time: 60 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Weight: 1,035 grams
All-Time Sales Rank: #188
Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item.
- 1 game board
- 80 wooden houses
- 4 principal firm cards
- 20 carriage cards
- 66 city cards
- 30 bonus tiles
- 4 summary cards
- 1 rule booklet
Average Rating: 3.9 in 5 reviews
I used to enjoy playing Ticket to Ride and can still enjoy it but, Thurn and Taxis has put Ticket to Ride on the back burner. Both games are route games but, in both games one needs to line up the right cards to build routes. Thurn and Taxis though offer so much more than Ticket to Ride.
What makes Thurn and Taxis easier is you have the freedom to decide what to do. There are no destination tickets. Two people can even build in the same area and copy routes. No getting locked out as can happen in Ticket to Ride. The game also seems faster because you collect cards and build on the same turn.
What makes Thurn and Taxis harder is there much more choice involved. There are four characters and you can only use one of them to help you but, which one. You do also have to plan in advanced or you could get yourself in trouble. The rules are also more complex and it may take you a game or two to get comfortable with all the choices. Once you do though you will find this to be a winner of a game.
We haven't played with the left over houses counting against a player. I don't see why this doesn't get five stars and so many other games have gotten five stars that I have enjoyed but, then found don't work after awhile. I play with my family and we generally like the lighter family games (Witch's Brew and The Four Ten Days Games)
I just purchased this game at GenCon Indy over the weekend. I've played it twice--once at the convention and then again that night with close friends.
I'm astounded at the bad review posted below, so I thought I'd add MY 2 cents. The game deserves a MUCH better rating than 2.0 stars.
I won't reiterate the details of the game play. I can say that if you like Ticket to Ride but wish it had more strategy, then this game is right for you. It isn't exactly like T2R, but with the collecting of cards in order to play strings of cards connecting cities with your color markers. That is spot on. The difference lies with the collection of victory points.
Why would I want this in my collection? I thoroughly enjoy the extra measure of strategy while depending less on the luck of the draw. In Thurn & Taxis your game plan is not set in stone (or tracks as it were) from the onset. No one has the ability to lock you out of a destination, simply because they managed to draw the right flavor of cards first.
As for losing the game on a single mistake, that's a gross generalization. The wide disparity of winning and losing scores comes NOT from a single mistake, but not keeping up with your counterparts--you don't want to lag behind in getting your houses in the cities. Everyone with house left in their supply at game end loses a victory point for each. Sure it looks like you lost the game (and BADLY) in the closing turn, but that should be a lesson learned in how NOT to play this game.
I think the ever diminishing return (victory points) in each facet of scoring is a brilliant technique for rewarding the agressive, and might I add, EFFICIENT play of your cards. Thurn & Taxis (just like the postal system) is all about proficiency.
It is a GREAT game!
Although Thurn & Taxis will probably not be remembered as one of the all time greatest games (like Carcasonne or Settlers), it's in the league with many very solid games that can be enjoyed for a long season or two (like Pueblo or Tikal or Alhambra).
Although it is a route game like Ticket to Ride, it's also very different from that game. One has to try to piece together a good postal route with what is at hand. And in that way, the mechanics do probably dimly echo some of the choices that had to be made by postal carriers of the time. The strategies are interesting and not immediately obvious.
Another thing of note is that the game is VERY nice looking. It has beautiful art that looks like a faded parchment, and I'm always a sucker for tasteful game art.
Are there some flaws? Perhaps, but they seem to have been addressed by some of the game rules (in the form of 4 different 'helpers' that can be called upon during one's turn). No, it's not a perfect game but fun enough and certainly stimulating enough to make your children just a little smarter.
Arguably the hit of Alan Moon’s Gathering of Friends, Thurn und Taxis from Karen & Andreas Seyfarth has been named as a finalist for the coveted Spiel des Jahre. Many, if not most, consider it to be the favorite to capture the award. I will have to agree with that sentiment.
Set in the infancy of the German postal system, Thurn und Taxis challenges players to construct postal routes across the country. Longer routes are initially more lucrative, but establishing postal stations in as many provinces and cities as possible is also a profitable goal. The player who best able to accomplish these tasks shall rise to the German equivalent of “Postmaster General” and be renowned in letter-carrier lore for posterity.
The attractive map depicts Deutschland and section of some neighboring countries. The map is divided into eight provinces, each containing one or more cities. The cities are connected by various land routes, and it is along these routes that players will build their postal networks.
Each player receives 20 post offices and a player aid card, which is conveniently printed in both English and German. Each turn, six city cards will be publicly displayed, and players will draft one or two of these cards into their hands. The idea is to gather cards whose cities connect, forming a long network.
A player’s turn is actually quite simple: grab one or two cards, and play one or two cards. In spite of the simple mechanics, however, the choices can be challenging. You see, there are four postal employees offering the player some assistance. Each turn, a player may request the assistance of ONE of the employees. The special abilities granted by these characters include drawing an extra card, playing an extra card, clearing the display of city cards, or upgrading one’s postal carriage. Choosing which character’s power to employ on a particular turn is a critical decision that must be made every turn.
After selecting a card (or two cards, if the Postmaster’s aid is requested), the player MUST play one of his city cards in front of him (TWO cards if the player invokes the assistance of the Postal Carrier). This card either begins or extends a route. Cards played must be placed next to previously played cards, and form a contiguous route; i.e., the cities must be connected by a land route without any branches. If a player is unable to accomplish this, previously played cards are discarded and a new route is begun. That is why it is vital to collect cards which are connected. Relying on luck to draw the needed cards can spell disaster.
After playing a card, the player may opt to formally establish that route if it contains three or more cities in the network. Doing so enables the player to place postal stations onto the board. Again, the player must make a decision:
1)Place one postal station in each province of the route on one of the cities located on the route; OR 2) Place one postal station on each city in the route, but only in ONE province.
While this may sound a bit confusing, in reality it is easy to visualize and understand. Players can earn points for completely filling a province with postal stations, so there is incentive to choose option two and place as many stations into a province as possible. However, players also can earn points by having a presence in seven of the eight provinces, so placing stations in as many different provinces is often beneficial. The points earned for achieving these results are greater for the first player to achieve these goals, and decline with each succeeding player. So, there is a race element to the game. Dilly-dalliers will pay the price!
When a player establishes a route, he not only collects the point tokens for filling a province and/or establishing a presence in seven of the eight regions, he also may upgrade his carriage based on the length of the route. Carriages are also worth points, with larger carriages earning more points. Here, however, the player must progress in sequence. Further bonus points are earned if the player establishes a lengthy network containing 5 –7 cities. These bonuses are limited, however, and reward the players who are first to achieve this feat.
If a player opts to NOT formally complete a route, the card or cards played remain in front of him, and on future turns additional cards will be added to the route. While longer routes provide handsome profits and bonuses, they also carry the potential risk of failing if a player is unable to select and play city cards which continue the network. So, a player must make sure he possesses the needed cards, and it is best to keep one’s options open by building routes that provide several possible paths. Since there is a race element in collecting those bonus tokens, it is often wise to construct shorter routes, perhaps beating an opponent to a particular goal.
When a player acquires the highest valued carriage – a “7” – the round is completed to assure everyone an equal number of turns. At that point, the game ends, and players tally the value of their highest carriage and their bonus tokens. From this, they subtract one point for each unused postal station, so there is a strong incentive to construct routes quickly in order to place those stations. The player with the greatest total wins the game and rises to the top of the postal hierarchy.
Andreas Seyfarth – this time teamed with his wife Karen – has done it again. He has created an entertaining and challenging game, one that is suitable for both gamers and casual play. The game has positioned itself nicely in his repertoire, falling somewhere between Puerto Rico and Manhattan on the complexity scale. It forces players to make constant decisions, and offers them numerous paths to pursue. These decisions are encompassed in a game that is not burdened with complex rules or mechanics that are difficult to understand. The game is easy to learn and flows smoothly. Indeed, it appears to have all of the elements that the Spiel des Jahre jury seeks in a game. That bodes well for its chances. Even if it does not ultimately capture the award, it is a solid game and worthy of being added to your collection.
Well, I played this game twice at Origins 2006. I've read everything about it. Now let me say, that I play lots of strategy games, and have been playing hundreds of games per year since the mid-1990s. After all this gameplay, I get most games. But with this one, I have a major problem.
In both games I played at Origins, I played for over one hour, and with one move (or in my case), lack of a draw of cards at the end, I went from having mid teens to twenty points, down to having single digits in points and losing the game substantially. I thought it was an aberration the first game, but it happened again in game two. I had a string of five connected cities, and was looking for three or four different cities to finish the connection. They didn't come up for three straight turns, including me using my special action to exchange all six cards. The second game, I ended up with 8 points, losing to the winner by nearly 20 points.
If its possible to play an entire game for over an hour, and be competitive points-wise during play, then make one either bad move, or luck move, and lose by a substantial amount because of one single move late in the game, I believe the game is flawed. As such, my plays for Thurn & Taxis will be very limited in the future. Game play is certainly interesting, but there's no way a single move late in the game should ruin an hour of play. My two cents.