Thurn Und Taxis, is a game where you have build an effective postal network by connecting cities in the region of Bavaria.
This game is playable with two to four players.
- 4 x 20 wooden houses (post offices)
- 4 summary cards
- 1 game board
- 4 principal firm cards
- 20 carriage cards (4 x 3, 4, 5, 6 7 carriages)
- 66 city cards
- 30 bonus tiles
Preparations before playing:
We start by putting all the bonus tiles on the board on the bonus tile spots according to region and ordered descending. Next up, put the carriage cards in Ascending order on the top of the board.
Every player gets 20 wooden houses, a summary card and a principal firm card. Now you only need to shuffle the city cards and lay the first 6 cards open on the left side of the board. The other cards are put next to the board faced down.
And now you’re ready to play.
How to play:
The game is about connecting cities to build out a postal network. And to build those routes you can call upon the support of an official. There are four different officials to choose from. And each official has it’s own function. This will all be explained in detail.
Each player’s turn consists of the following actions/steps in the shown order:
- The player must take a city card from one of the six open cards on the board or the deck next to the board.
- The player must choose a card to start or expand his or her route.
- The player may close the route and collect points for his current route.
If a player cannot expand his or her route, then the route has to be discarded. The player gets no points for discarded routes. A new route must be started from the cards the player has at hand.
When to call upon which official?
During a turn you can call upon one official.
- The Administrator should be called upon before you start with step one.
- The Postmaster’s help can be used after step one has passed.
- The Postal carrier can help you with step two, to expand your route with two cards instead of one.
- And last but not least, the Cartwright can help you finish that route you’re building.
The officials explained
- Postal carrier: With the postal carrier you are allowed to add a second card to your route.
- Postmaster: You can take an extra city card from the board or the supply deck. During the first round all players must use the help of this official. When the supply of city cards is exhausted, the discards have to be shuffled and take place as the new supply.
- Administrator: If a player dislikes all the city cards that are on the board, he or she can replace all six cards with a new batch from the supply.
- Cartwright: With the help of the cartwright, the player can finish his or her route with one or even two cities less than required for that round.
Like mentioned before this game is all about the routes. Like you probably already suspect, a route has a startpoint and an endpoint. And of course there are some rules to it as wel.
- A city can only be used once per route.
- A route has to exist out of a minimum of three cities.
- All cities laying next to each other in a route must have a road connecting them. This also means they have to be directly adjacent to each other.
- A route cannot be rearanged. It’s not allowed to rearange cities in your route. And also no inserting a card between cards of the current route.
Closing a route
When your route is finished, you can close it. But it has to be at least three cities long, have no doubles and the cities have to be adjacent and connected by a road. After your route is closed, you can collect the bonuspoints for that route and acquire a carriage card.
To be able to collect points, you have to finish a route according to the conditions I mentioned before. After that you can place houses on the board.
The houses can only be placed on cities that were in your route. And you must choose one of these two options:
- You can place one house on each city that was in your route and that has the same color.
- Or you can place a house on each city from your route, that has a different color.
All the houses that haven’t been placed by the end of the game will count as minus points of your total score.
On the game board there are several different little tiles. These are the bonus point tiles. They have golden shields with numbers printed on them. These numbers are the points you can earn by acquiring them. And to acquire them you have to meet their conditions.
There are five types of bonus tiles:
- Tiles that are acquired by length of the closed route. So a closed route with a length of five, will earn you a bonus tile with a -5- on it.
- Tiles with one color as background. These are acquired if you have placed houses on all the cities in that same colored region.
- Tiles with two colors as background. For these you have to place houses on all the cities of both colored regions.
- Tiles with tiny colored squares printed on them. These are acquired after you have build a house on at least one city in each colored region.
- Last but not least is the bonus tile you can acquire by being the first to finish the last route of length seven.
All except the last kind of bonus tile come in more than one tile. They are placed on the game board in little stacks, orderd descending order. So on top lays the tile with the highest point value. You must always take the bonus tile on top of the stack.
If it’s a route length bonus tile you are allowed to acquire, but all the tiles are gone, You can collect the top tile with a smaller length. If there’s one available of course.
Routes are connected to the carriage value cards (the cards on top of the board with numbers from three till seven). This means you first have to build a route containing at least three cities, then four, then five and so on, to acquire the carriage card that has the minimum value of the route. Each carriage value card can only be acquired once.
And you cannot skip over a carriage card. Even if your route is longer than the next carriage card you have to acquire. So for example if your route has a length of four cities, but you haven’t acquired the carriage value three card yet, then that will be the carriage card you’ll get.
When a player acquires the carriage value seven card or builds his or her last house, it will be the last round. But only players sitting on the right from the ending player can still finish their turn.
Carriage cards also have a shield with points printed on them. But the difference between the tiles and the carriage cards is that only your highest acquired carriage card counts. So if your highest carriage card value is one of length six, then you can add seven points to your total score.
Thurn and taxis is one of the first games I bought that wasn’t very popular. And I have never regreted that.
The game is similar to Ticket To Ride, but different enough. Although I might admit that the reason I bought Ticket To Ride, was because I love Thurn and Taxis.
- It’s an easy to learn game.
- Duration is somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour.
- Can be played very strategical. Optimize and adapt.
- It doesn’t depend so much on luck. It’s more about the moves you make.
- A very stay-focussed game.
- Fun with two players