“Thurn and Taxis”
designed by Andres Seyfarth & Karen Seyfarth, published by Rio Grande Games
Players: 2-4; Playing Time: 60 Min; Good for: Mailmen, Eurogamers, and fans of “Ticket to Ride”
Return to the thrilling days of yesteryear as you compete to build the finest postal system in Bavaria and its surrounding regions! Each round, you must draw a card showing one of the cities on the board. Then, you must play a card down in front of you to either continue a route you already started, or if the city doesn’t link to your current route, discard that route and start a new one. Finally, you can score your current route by placing a postal house on the cities in that route: either a house in every city in one province, or a house in one city in every province the route passes through (more complicated than it sounds). Score point chits for building in all the cities in a province, or having one city in all provinces, or having routes of different lengths. Finally, collect carriages for building longer and longer routes. When the level 7 carriage is built or when a player uses up all his postal houses, the game ends, making sure all the players take an equal number of turns. Add up all the points scored from the bonus chits and carriage, minus the number of remaining cities, highest score dominates Bavaria and the mail!
It’s like a next level “Ticket to Ride” with the card-play driven route building, but with easily the most esoteric theme in all boardgaming. The Bavarian postal system in the 16th century? C’mon? Really? However, the press-your-luck aspects of building the route and chasing your opponents for the points makes for difficult decisions and tight gameplay: do I try for the longer routes to end the game, or the quick short routes to maximize points? Choose wisely, but still lose by two points. Ugh.
One Line Verdict: Push past the theme and pick up this great little gateway to complete your Spiel des Jahres collection. After all, when you control the mail…