July 10, 2006

Now Shipping: "Thurn & Taxis"

ThurnAndTaxis.7.10.06.jpgRio Grande Games' "Thurn & Taxis" [Funagain] has shipped to retailers and is now available in stores. The game is set in the late 15th century and has players carving routes out of German towns for the then-budding postal service.

Players collect cards (which contain a series of city names) in an attempt to link together a postal route across the board. When a chain is finished, the player gains points and also places a pair of post offices to claim territories along the route. When a territory has been fully populated by a player then he/she snags even more points.

The general gameplay is similar in style to the award winning Ticket to Ride, but the game plays quite a bit differently. Players must collect specific city names, instead of running a series of colors as in Ticket to Ride. This makes card selection a far more focused task. There are also some disconnected aggressive elements where players can clear the pool of selectable cards, ruining the day of any player lusting over a face-up card they needed to extend their postal network. Finally, the placement of a route in a game of Thurn & Taxis doesn't eliminate the potential for other players laying that same route down the road. Player's aren't racing to lay track over physical spaces on the board before their opponents, but instead indirectly competing to connect as many cities as possible before their opponents do.

Here's the game's official description:

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 & Taxis was created by designer Andreas Seyfarth who created the award-winning title Puerto Rico [Funagain]. Initial impresssions of the game have been very positive, and it looks like Seyfarth may have another award winner with Thurn & Taxis [funagain].

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Posted by Critical Gamers Staff at July 10, 2006 12:23 PM

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