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Yunnan — home of delicious Pu'er tea. For more than 1,000 years, the tea dynasties have provided this sought-after good via their horse caravans to faraway Tibet. The Tea-Horse Road — a network of paths and roads leading through the jungles of Yunnan, across the steppes of Sichuan, and over the peaks of the Himalaya — is the traditional travel route of the tea traders.
In Yunnan, players control the fate of their tea dynasties. Their main goal is to establish a broad and secure trading network to deliver the tea to the farthest provinces, doing it better than their opponents. The main work behind the scenes is done in Pu'er, their home location: New traders need to be trained, better horses need to be acquired, and a good number of border passes need to be requested to be able to reach the farthest provinces.
Mere trading is not enough to beat the competition, however. Great social influence and a prestigious tea house may come in handy to propitiate the province inspector. Bridges provide shortcuts, and trading posts in faraway places secure one's own path along the Tea-Horse Road.
Yunnan is well-suited for players who like tactical development games. Due to the interleaving game mechanisms, the players are involved at all times. The great variety of available actions allows for different strategies. Only the player who calculates well, goes against the proper opponents, and reacts to the actions of others swiftly and adequately will win this game, which includes no elements of chance.
Players: 2 - 5
Time: 90 or more minutes
Ages: 12 and up
Weight: 845 grams
- 1 Game board
- 35 Traders (7 in each player's color)
- 5 Horses (1 in each player's color)
- 10 Bridges (2 in each player's color)
- 10 Trading posts (2 in each player's color)
- 10 Tea houses (2 in each player's color)
- 5 Income markers (1 in each player's color)
- 5 Victory point markers (1 in each player's color)
- 10 Progress markers (2 in each player's color)
- 5 Turn order markers (1 in each player's color)
- 5 "-100/0" markers (1 in each player's color)
- 1 Round marker
- 1 Province inspector
- 14 Presents token
- 53 Coins
Average Rating: 4.5 in 1 review
I purchased Yunnan as an import from Germany awhile ago, after Rahdo posted his review on YouTube. This game is very simple but it carrier a lot of depth. I've played this only with 3 players but I can see how it might improve (and maybe get a bit more chaotic) with more players. A simple auction phase happens first: there are 5 different items to bid on. The auction system is unique because the available bids you can place on each item are 5-7-9-12-15. If you bid 5 or 7 then if someone outbids you, it removes your bid and you get to try to bid again on something the next round. But if you bid 9 or higher, you WILL get that item, regardless if someone outbids you or not.
Then after the auction phase, there is the "travel" phase. This is where you place your meeples out on the road in order to score money/points. You can only travel as far as your horse meeple (you can increase the horse's distance via one of the auctions). You also have to make a connected chain of meeples from the start in the province of Pu'er to as far as your meeples stretch, unless you have a trading post in the province you don't have a meeple in (also purchasable at the auctions). Then after everyone has traveled an Inspector (he's a jerk) visits the most lucrative province and sends back a meeple of the person who was there first generally, unless you have a tea house (yep, you guessed it, an auction item) or someone in your province has more influence than you.
After that everyone adds up how much money they made, and there's one more catch...you trade money for points. You need money for the auctions, but you need the points for the win. The rules state that it's a 1:1 trade between money and points, but I've found out that that is a little unbalanced. Use $1 = 1/2 point.
I *love* this game. I consider myself a middle-weight euro lover, and this fits in well with my taste but it could also appeal to a lighter or heavier gamer. Easy to teach, easy to learn, but lots of little nuances keep you on your toes. Buy this game.