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In 1490, Kaiser Maximilian I awarded Franz von Taxis the contract to deliver mail between the Kaiser’s residences in Innsbruck and Brussels. He did such a good job, that postal services in the country continue to be connected with the name Thurn and Taxis. With the introduction of postal carriages in the middle of the 17th century, members of the family were raised to Count status and given the hereditary title of Postmaster General. The game begins at this point in history.

Can you emulate the achievements of this family and build a successful postal network? Do you have the talent to connect the right cities to create an effective network and not lose sight of the need to acquire new carriages when they are needed? Plan your moves carefully and watch your opponents’ moves carefully, so you are prepared to respond to them.The game takes you back in time and gives you challenges that will bring you back to the game over and over.

Thurn and Taxis
images © Rio Grande Games

User Reviews (6)

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8 Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012 Bronze Supporter
Advanced Reviewer
133 of 140 gamers found this helpful
“Genuinely Surprised by a Good Game.”

Thurn and Taxis is a surprisingly fun euro styled game. The idea is you are a mail man creating routes through different towns in the European country side. I think the game actually crosses a number of European countries, but my geography isn’t the best.

COMPONENTS: As a euro styled game it features wooden post offices, city cards, and a map/board. The quality is nice, but its reflective of your average euro game. Be prepared to have your socks kept on.

GAME PLAY: The board is set up with cities in different regions that you will attempt to chain together these cities to create your multiple mail routes. Creating a route is done by collecting city cards. The city cards are laid out six at a time for you to choose from. On your turn you have three basic actions and a special action you can perform.

Your basic actions are take a city card, play a city card, and score points if possible. These actions are performed every turn.

The special moves, each represented by a member of the postal service, are the letter carrier who lets you collect two cities on your turn. The Postmaster who lets you play two city cards. The Administrator allows you to clear the six city cards laid out a choose a card from a fresh six. And finally, the Cartwright who allows you to score extra points with a route that is short by two cities. Example, you have a four city route, you can claim a carriage value of six.

SCORING: Accomplished in a number of ways that I think adds a lot to the game and creating a strategy. You receive your base point by collecting carriages from turning in routes. These can only be collected in order of short to longest. So even if you start with a 10 city route you’re only going to receive base carriage. You also get points for the length of the route, having offices in every city in a region, and having an office in every region.

OVERALL: I was genuinely surprised by how much enjoyment I got from playing this game. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, maybe because of low expectations, but I had enjoyed the play, options, and strategy of it all. I think it was also nice that the first time I played it I came in second and the winner had also never played. A good sign of a easy to understand game. I give it two thumbs up.

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I play blue
Cooperative Game Explorer
132 of 142 gamers found this helpful
“A great stepping stone for new Euro gamers”

Thurn and Taxis is a game that has graced my table far too infrequently. It is a relative newcomer to my collection, with six plays at the time of this review. I have played 2, 3 and 4-player games, and it has been a satisfying experience every time.

How does it look?: The game’s components are not particularly striking. The wooden Post Office pieces, cards and board are all of perfectly good quality, but will not wow anyone. In one case, a friend was reluctant to play because the sepia tone board looked very dry.

The reverse side of the board has a coat of arms printed on it, so the game continues to be classy after a disgruntled player flips your table.

How does it play?: Other reviewers have given in-depth explanations of the game play, so I will focus on what I particularly enjoy. Thurn and Taxis is a fantastic stepping stone into Euro games. Its dry theme and board do not make it a great introductory game like Takenoko or Ticket to Ride. However, once a player has started to enjoy the mechanics present in games like those, Thurn and Taxis is easy to pick up and teaches more of the mechanics that one might encounter in more complex games.

The game seems to favor accomplishing one’s own goals over interfering with others, which I find is one of the things that makes it approachable for newer gamers. A loss won’t make a player feel that they’ve been picked on or singled out. Instead, it’s an opportunity to try a new strategy next game. The four Special Actions also make for meaningful decisions every turn – it is very rare to feel like there is nothing to do on a given turn.

While a player’s Victory Points from their current Carriage level are public, any Victory Point chits collected from the board are kept face-down. This makes for some tight games as players jockey for a few final points before somebody triggers the endgame. It also encourages newer Euro gamers to become more aware of what their opponents have done in the game.

Overall Impression: Whether you are introducing a player to Euro Games or just want a lighter Euro to play in an hour or less, Thurn and Taxis is a quality game. It provides more choices and less player versus player aggressive options than Ticket to Ride, and the many ways of earning victory points give it a solid level of replay value. If you can find it at your Friendly Local Game Store, I would strongly suggest that you pick it up.

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Rated 50 Games
131 of 142 gamers found this helpful
“Revisiting The Classics: Thurn & Taxis by Rio Grande Games Review by David Lowry”

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.

Publisher: Rio Grande Games, Hans Im Gluck

Game Designer: Andreas ********, Karen ********

Players: 2-4

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.

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Intermediate Reviewer
Novice Advisor
79 of 86 gamers found this helpful
“Ticket to Ride inverted with many ways to win”

I was immediately hooked the first time I tried this game. It’s a great gateway game to introduce new people to eurogaming, but it works very well for people already in that swamp (like myself).

The headline says ticket to ride inverted, and the reason for this is that you do basicly the same thing as in TtR, namely building routes between cities, but here you do it by getting cards for the cities instead of buidling the distance between two cities. Just as TtR you collect resources (in this case city cards) from an open collection that get replenished when people take cards.

The board is a map of Germany (and Lodz) divided in different colorcoded areas. During your turn you grab cards and add cities to your route. You decide for yourself when the route is finished, there are both pros and cons with waiting or scoring. When you decide to score a route you may either place a station in all cities you pass in a certain area OR place one station in each area (only in cities included in your route of course).

There are several ways to score points, and some of them contradict each other, so you’ll have to decide where your focus should be. The most common way to score is to get one of your station in each city in a certain area, and the scoring tiles goes down in value, meaning that the first player to complete an area will score the most.

There’s also a bonus for being the frist player to have stations in all the areas.

But, to mess up the decission making you also get to upgrade your carriage when scoring a line route enough. This means you also want to score as many routes as possible that get slightly longer each time to be able to upgrade. But on the other hand there are bonuses if you are the first person to score very long routes, so you are torn between what will grant you most victory points in the end.

The game ends when someone mananges to upgrade to the fanciest carriage or when they run out of station markers. The game allows all players the same amount of game turns. Any unplace station marker count as minus points.

That’s it. Clean and simple, very easy to teach, and the different ways to score is logic and simple. Basicly it’s a race to be able to pick earlier tiles (worth more vp) from the different bonus objectives on the board. I don’t think we’ve ever played this with anyone that didn’t like it. The artwork is beautiful and it doesn’t take all night to finish a game. Check it out!

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Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
76 of 83 gamers found this helpful
“A Light Euro Game Scratch for a Light Itch”

Thurn and Taxis is easy to learn, different enough that each game will be different and the design is well done. Reminiscent of Ticket to Ride, this game might very well scratch that light “Euro” game itch. But what if it doesn’t…?

Is it Pretty?
Not so much. It’s well designed and the theme is represented at ease. The components are nice; the score meters, the cards, ect. Well put together.
My problem, and this may very well be personal, is that everything is kind of drab. If brown is your favorite color, you might be pretty happy. The colors that separate the borders of regions don’t always differentiate themselves perfectly, such as the greens and blues. Again, the them is well done, but the theme is also a bit dry. You can’t really do a lot with setting up German post routes.

Who’s it For?
If you like Ticket to Ride, but want your games a little more “Euro”, this might be for you. It’s on the same level with the aforementioned train game in terms of difficulty to learn and play, in style and even theme. But, with all the bonuses you pick up and all the little powers you have to change the rules, it has more to do and focus on. It might not replace Ticket to Ride for you, but it will be an easy move if you want to bring some people over to more complicated games.

Why is it Not in My Collection?
Well, I own Ticket to Ride and that’s doing the job just fine right now. If that game gets a little to simple for the people I play it with, I’m more likely to bring them over with Castles of (Ron) Burgundy, especially because Thurn and Taxis has as many elements from that game as Ticket to Ride. Again, the theme is a bit too dry for me and that keeps me from totally getting behind the mechanics.
Your mileage may vary, of course. But for me, this is one I’ll play, but not own.

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Gamer - Level 5
Critic - Level 3
Novice Advisor
110 of 179 gamers found this helpful
“A nice variation on Ticket to Ride”

This game was definitely influenced by Ticket to Ride, but I really like the direction it takes, adding a lot of strategy and exciting gameplay to the system.

What I really like most of all is that there’s no way to just sit back and play defensive. Risk is inevitable, and must be embraced every turn, whether you like it or not. I’m not sure about Post Offices, but I can say that this is a very realistic situation for businesses in general, and a great play mechanic for a game involving one.

The only downside I had was some of the rules were a bit confusing, making the learning curve a little steep (especially in terms of what the best strategies to pursue were), but overall, this is an excellent game!


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