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Subject: short overview of the game rss

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Bas van der Meer
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Today I received my order from Adam-Spielt with 3 Nuernberg 2006 releases: Um Krone und Kragen, Ticket to Ride M�rklin and Thurn und Taxis. Since there is already some information on BGG about the other two games, let me write a few words on Thurn und Taxis.

Note: I did not yet play this game, I just studied the rules and played a short solo "two player" test game.

Thurn und Taxis is the name of an aristocratic family which started in the 15th century with a postal service between Insbr�ck and Brussels. Untill somewhere into the 19th century this family ran a company of postal services. In this game each of the players tries to set up a network of postal services around southern Germany.

Puerto Rico is the game we all know (and most of us love) by Andreas Seyfahrt. This game is designed by Andreas and Karen Seyfahrt. Choosing a character each turn is about the only thing that both games share, but even that is completely different. Your character choice does not limit the choice of the next player. Don't expect a new Puerto Rico (or Caylus) in this game, this is completely different, in game weight on the scale between "gateway game" and "gamers game" it's in between, but more on the side of the gateway game.

The playing board depicts a map of 22 cities in southern Germany and around. The map is devided in uneven areas, like Bayern (with 8 cities the largest area), Switzerland (2 cities) and Tirol (1 city). Roads connect cities. A city like Muenchen (Bayern) is connected with 6 other cities, while Lodz (Poland) is connected only with 1 city.

There are 66 cards with cities on them. There are 3 cards for each city (22 cities x 3 = 66).

A turn consists of 3 steps:
1. draw 1 card, either choose one from the 6 cards that are open in display, or take a blind card from the draw pile;
2. play 1 card in front of you to start/extend your active route, if you already have a line of 1 or more cards in front of you, lay the card either right to the rightmost card or left to the leftmost card. It is only allowed to play a card of a city that is directly connected on the board to the city on the card next to it. If you cannot play a legal card, you have to discard (without scoring) the current set of card before you and play any card you want from your hand.
3. (optional) if you want, you can decide to finish your active route. You are only allowed to do this if your current active route contains at least 3 cards. See scoring a route below.

Additionally you can do something extra each turn by choosing one of the following 4 characters to help you. The characters to choose from are:
a. Postal carrier - play 2 cards instead of 1
b. Postmaster - draw 2 cards instead of 1. If you have no cards in your hand (for example in the first turn) you have to choose this character.
c. Administrator - exchange all cards in the display
d. Cartwright - acquire a new carriage with 2 fewer city card - see scoring a route below.

Scoring a route is an optional action at the end of each turn. Basically you announce that your current active route, consisting of at least 3 cards in front of you is completed.
- If the length of your current route is longer than the carriage you have in front of you, take the next carriage card. So if you don't have a carriage card yet, by completing a route of 3+ cards, take the smallest carriage card (3), or if you already have the (4) card in front of you take the (5) card if your route consists of 5 or more cards. optionally if you have not yet choosen a character this turn, take a card if your route+2 is more than the value on your current carriage card, so by finishing a 3 card route you can still take the (5) card if you already have the 4 carriage in front of you.
- place postal stations on the board. You start the game with a pool of 20 stations. You can choose where to place your stations:
a. place them in all cities of the cities of one land your route crosses. So if your route consists of 4 cards, with 3 cities in Bayern and one in Salzburg, you can place 3 stations on all the cities in Bayern. If you already have a station in one of thoses cities, don't place a new token there.
b. place one station in each of the lands the route crosses, so in the example above you can place one marker on the city in Salzburg (the one you played the card of) and one marker in a city of your choice in Bayern. Again, only one token of your color in each city is allowed.
- take one or more bonus tiles if applicable. If your route consists of 5/6/7 cities, take the highest available bonus tile for the route-length. If your route consists of 8 or more cities, take the highest available tile of the 7 city-stack, or from the 6 or 5 stacks, if the other stacks are exhausted. Same if you finished a 7/6 length route and these stacks are exhausted, take a tile from a lower stack. If you have built tokens in all 8 cities in Bayern, take the highest available tile from the Bayers-bonus stack. If you have built tokens in all 3 cities in Switzerland and Tirol, take the highest tile from the Schweiz/Tyrol stack, etc.
- discard your hand if you have more than 3 cards to 3 cards.

The game ends when somebody used up all his 20 station tokens (covering 20 of the 22 cities) or when somebody took a (7) carriage card. The turn is finished so that each player had the same number of turns (that is, everybody untill the player sitting right to the starting player finishes his/her turn). The player to finish the game receives the "end player" bonus tile.

Scoring consists of adding up the bonus value of the highest carriage card (the (3) card is worth 2 points, the (7) card is worth 10 points) and all of the bonus tiles (the highest Bayern tile is 5 points, the second 4, the highest Schweiz/Tirol tile is 3 points, the end player tile is 1 point, the highest 6 city route is 3 points) and subtract the number of station tokens left in your pool.

I'm looking forward to play this game. I expect this to be a fun, decent 1-hour game, to play with both lightweight and heavy gamers. The rules are fairly simple and straightforward, there is some mid-term strategy, but it's probably fairly forgiving in that you can't screw up the game by doing something stupid one turn. Besides, you can try to screw up your opponents only by picking a city card you know somebody else desperetly wants to finish a land, but there is no way to block somebody out of a city (This game won't ruin your marriage).

BTW my solo test "2 player" game ended in a 34-19 point victory for yellow against blue, just to give you an idea of the future end-scores.
 
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Brad Fuller
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thanks for the overview, I have really been looking foward to this one.
 
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Jay Little
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Great, detailed overview. Thanks for taking the time to provide valuable information for this upcoming looker!
 
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Steve K
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Many thanks, Bas, in particular for clarifying the discarding of surplus cards after claiming a route - my feeble babelfish translation work had left me stumped as to what this was trying to say.

The one thing I'd add is that in addition to the "country bonuses" there's also an "outside Bayern" bonus tile - you get the highest remaining one of these when you have a house in at least one city in every country except Bayern.

And in case its not obvious: each player can have at most one of each of these country bonuses, but can claim any number of route-length bonuses.

I hope to play this today.
 
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