In my second installment of Revisiting the Classics I want to discuss Thurn & Taxis from Rio Grande Games. Unfortunately this game seems to be out of print with Rio Grande Games but is available with Hans Im Gluck which is good as it was a Spiel De Jahres (Game of the Year) winner in 2006.
Game Designer: Andreas Seyfarth, Karen Seyfarth
Ages: 13 to adult
Playing Time: 60 minutes
Thurn and Taxis theme is based on the original postal system started in 1615 in Italy and covering over 250 years of history in this game based on the Thurn & Taxis family. While some might think this an odd theme for a board game, it works very well, adds a touch of thematic history and due to the artwork which is beautiful and outstanding, a gaming experience that seems to transcend any gender lines, historical lines or need for something action oriented.
In Thurn & Taxis, each players is trying to build the largest network of postal routes in Eastern Europe. You do this by collecting cards and playing them in a row as allowed by the routes on the board. You cannot lay cards in the middle of your routes once they have begun, only on either end which if your cards are unlucky to draw from can leave you in a bind. Each player gets to add a city card to their hand, play a city card or may close and score a route. You also get the option of using one “official” during this turn. Think of this as a special power.
Players are collecting point chits based on the length of routes, minimum of three cites and maximum of seven to score any chits. Small routes such as three or four cites may help collect a regions point chits, but only five cities or up to seven cites collect point chits based on length of route. You may also collect a point chit for having at least on city in every region. During the closing of a route and scoring it, the player may also upgrade their carriage to achieve more victory points assuming all the requirements are met when doing so. The game ends when on player has three or less post offices to place. The player with the most victory points at the end wins!
Thurn & Taxis is a fairly simple game to learn and play. I find it is a very good gateway game especially for a euro style game. The other thing I have realized is that a lot of women have really liked this game when introducing them to it. It is not confrontational, it has a bit of a solitaire element to it. It’s easy to socialize over and yet still offers a fair amount of strategy and play within its 60 minute time frame without fail. If a player fails to complete a route then it can make it a bit hard to catch up and add that extra tension that comes with a good board game.
I personally like Turn & Taxis a lot. It’s a solid game with beautiful artwork and I always like a good theme in my games. While this might not be a brain burner, it is a good medium-light game that is easy for most groups of gamers. With all the new games coming out today, this doesn’t see the table as often as it used to, but it used to see the table a lot. If you can find a copy I highly recommend it especially for the more casual gaming groups or introducing new people to board games.