Today I’m going to talk to you about another game in the German genre, one that I received for Christmas and enjoy a lot – even if I’m not very good at it! It’s called Thurn und Taxis. (That’s “Thurn and Taxis” in English.)
In this game, players are building the first postal routes in Germany. The Thurn und Taxis family, were a key part of founding these routes in the 16th century, hence the name of the game.
Each turn a player selects one city card and must play one card. Each card played must be part of the route he is building, so it has to be linked by a road to either side of the current route. Your route can be from three to seven cities long. At the end of your turn, you can choose to score your route if you have at least three cities in it.
The cities reside in various regions, each signified by a color. So when you score a route, you can choose to place a post office in all cities of the same color in your route, or one of each color. Why does it matter? Because there are bonus points to be had for eventually getting all cities in one region covered, as well as a big bonus for having one city in each region covered. There are also bonuses for placing the first routes that are at least five to seven cities long. Meanwhile you’re working on a progression to improve your postal service, starting with a basic carriage – credit for laying down a three-city route. Eventually you try to work up to a full-service system – for laying down a seven-city route. But those progressions must happen in order. So you could, for example, lay down a six-city route early in the game, but will only collect whichever carriage bonus you have next up in the progression.
To make things interesting, each turn a player can invoke one of four privileges available. These allow you to draw two cards, play two cards, clear the entire six-card tableau, or claim the next carriage bonus even if you’re one or two cards short (e.g. claiming the #6 bonus even though you’re scoring a four-city route).
Thurn und Taxis is a good match for players with only moderate experience in gaming. It combines the style of Ticket to Ride with faster gameplay. It works for 2-4 players, and is one of the few games out there that scales down well for 2. This is a quick game that you can likely finish in less than an hour. Thurn und Taxis is published by Rio Grande Games.
I hope you’ll enjoy this award-winning game, which is easy to learn and great fun to play!