First of all, let me say that I normally prefer heavier games. My favourite game to date is probably T&E and other "beasts" like Age of Steam or Caylus are also among my favourites.
But TuT was a good surprise for me. I bought it because I thought I needed a good gateway game and I'd played TtR before and I thought that it was only ok. After a few plays I started to discover new nuances about the game and it really grew on me. I think the recurrent sentence "it has more to it than meets the eye in the first play" is dead on.
I will not describe the rules in detail, because others have made it already (and much better than I would) and you can easily find them here, if you want to read them. And if you are reading this review you probably already know that both games are about drawing cards and using them to build routes on a map, anyway.
The major difference between the two games is, as I see it, in the strategic part where you set your long term goals.
In TtR you choose wich routes you will build at the start, by choosing the objective cards, and then spend your time working to build them. This means that most of the time (I would say 60/70%) you have no decisions to make. Your play will be just draw the card which suits your pre-chosen routes best and then work towards your goal. After you reach your goal, draw some more objectives and start over. There will be room for some minor tactical decisions, but that's basically it. And to make things worse, if you are unlucky, you'll have no "consistent" objectives to choose from and your long term strategy will be compromised.
TuT is very different and that's one of the reasons I like it. On every turn you have difficult decisions to make, because your objectives are not chosen for you or set at the beginning. Your decision on which routes to complete will be based on your cards, on the situation on the map (to see what bonuses you can steal from the other players) and on your own situation (which routes you've completed before). This means you have to manage your cards right, not only to be able to continue/finish the route you're currently working on, but also to prepare the route you'll start after the current one is finished. On other words, you choose your objectives based on a set of variable conditions instead of just drawing them from a pile and choosing the ones that seem more "consistent".
The player interaction
Another big difference between the games is in the player interaction department. In TuT all you can do to harm another player is to prevent him from getting a card that you know he needs (either by getting it yourself or by discarding all 6 cards), or try to speed up the scoring of a route, to prevent him from getting a bonus.
In TtR things can be much more cutthroat, especially in the original edition without the stations, because you can block players and prevent them from completing their long routes, making them loose a lot of points. Some people like this feature in a game, others don't. I have no problem with it and actually prefer the original version over TtR:Europe (haven't played Marcklin) because I think the stations remove some of the tension.
Regarding luck, it's obvious that both games have it in a very healthy dosage. You are drawing cards and, if you don't get the right cards, you will be unable to win the game. In my experience - and I am by no means an expert - I think both games give you choices to deal with the luck of the draw.
To sum it up, I would say that TuT is basically a game of efficiency. You have to be more efficient in managing your card hand, on planning your long term objectives and on reacting to what other players are doing or planning. On top of that, it has very good production values, with a beautiful map and nice cards, and very simple and accessible rules. As I said in the beginning, this game left me a little cold after the first play but it grew a lot on me.
TtR has also excellent production values and very simple rules. Gameplaywise I find it a little more restrictive, with less decisions for the players on each turn. Player interaction is higher and, as a consequence, there is more tension in the gameplay. I can see why people like it, but after 10+ plays on both TtR and TtR:Europe, started to wear out and I basically never played it again. The reason for this, I think, is that most of the time the best play is obvious and almost mechanical as you are working to build your long routes. I haven't tried TtR:Marcklin though and maybe the passengers add that extra layer which in my opinion is missing from the game.
If you want a good, tense, gateway game with very simple rules and which everybody will love on the first play, get TtR. If you prefer something with a little more "juice" and staying power, but with very simple rules and that can still be used has a gateway game, get TuT.
Thurn und Taxis is an 8.
Ticket to ride (the original - Europe is probably a little less) is a 7.
- Last edited Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:54 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:10 pm
I meant to say that there is more tension in Ticket to ride than in Thurn und Taxis. English is not my first language, so maybe I wasn't clear enough. I tried to rephrase and rearrange the text to make it clearer.
Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
Hi P ES
Nice posting! I own TuT and am a Wargamer so I like heavier games.
TuT is an interisting game where it comes down to when to take risks.
Wait for a card you need to make points or pla safe....
Think about yourself or take that opportunity to snatch a card from your opponent...
Excellent production and very nice game.
8 out of 10 indeed.
(Mr.) Kim Beattie
Embrace your inner geek!
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
You have managed to explain the "feeling" I had about Thurn und Taxis... that it "feels" more strategic than T2R because in T2R, you tend to have a long term goal (complete these routes) and in TuT, the goal can change from turn to turn based on the available cards, so it becomes more of a "thinking" game than does T2R.
Another way I have described the two games is that Tut has more of a "euro" feel while T2R has an "american" feel to it. A very subjective statement, I know.
I still hesitate to say that Tut is like T2R or vice versa. The similarities are really only superficial in my opinion.
Thanks for the comparitive review.
Thank you for a great review Pedro.
I defenitely share your feeling of the game growing on you. On my first play I just rolled along merrily picking any card tha fit my route and didn't reallly care about what was happening around me. Then afterwards when you start to think about what was happening in the game while you were sleeping you want to have another go at it immideately.
The big difference between the games that did strike me is that in TtR you may have a vague idea of what your opponents are up to but in TuT you have complete information at all times that you may ignore or not. This should make a huge difference in competetive play.
Players who don't try to keep track of each other tend to get stuck in the same part of the map while another player can just breeze through another part. There is also possibility to help other players make "bad decisions" by removing cities from one end of their route and send them into the more crowded areas of the board.
Myself, I have to look at my own cards frequently so I guess I don't have the memory to be good at this game anytime soon . But I do try to remember where the player to my left is trying to go and roughly where the players to my right are on the map (after all their routes are not hidden).
It would be fun to try a game using "Settlers roads" to mark uncompleted player routes on the map for easier overview.
- Last edited Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:56 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Thu Jul 20, 2006 8:55 am
Thank you for the comparative review.
I agree that both games have a heavy dosage of luck.
In TUT you have to plan on adding a city to your existing route every turn, so you are more at the mercy of the draw of cards every turn. So I believe that the luck factor is more in TuT.
Another quible I have with TuT is that the cards are really small (much smaller than T2R cards) and are difficult to shuffle/handle. Nevertheless I enjoy TuT and we havent played T2R since buying TuT.