When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why. But why wonder? I'm green, and it'll do fine: it's beautiful, and I think it's what I want to be.
Some good friends who are neighbors of ours expressed an interest in gaming with us, to my surprise and delight. It is, for me, one of the most fun aspects of gaming – getting to reintroduce the hobby to my friends. The game we choose to play with them was Thurn & Taxis, which I got for Christmas, and have had the opportunity to play a couple of times since. It seemed like it would be a good choice as a “gateway” game – easy to understand concept, simple mechanisms and a pretty playing environment.
With a brief and simple run down of the rules we were off. I was Yellow, my wife Eleanor was Red, Bonnie was Blue and her husband Jeff was Green.
Blue was off to the quickest start, completing some early 5 station routes and making first claim to the purple province, although Red succeeded in one long route right down the middle of Baiern and looked to have the early lock on that lucrative province. Green had a couple of false starts, losing the beginnings of a route due to lack of playable cities in hand, but slowly and almost unnoticed began a steady accumulation of VP chips. They were not the top chips, but there were a lot of them.
Yellow had not made much noise initially, but about midway through the game, made a lovely seven long route to take the first chip in that category, as well as the Bohmen Salzb. top chip. Yellow also need to capture the Schweiz province for the top honors in the Outside of Baiern race, but these attempts were constantly being thwarted by Red, who played just before Yellow, and was constantly wiping out the cities on the board for new ones.
Somewhere just beyond the midpoint of the game, Red made a grave tactical error. She used the support of the Postal carrier to play two cities into what was developing into a nice, long route, emptying her hand in the process. Unfortunately, she lost track of the rule that compels a player to use the support of the Postmaster when you have no cards in your hand (If a player has no cards in his hand at the beginning of he turn, [sic] he must choose the help of the Postmaster for that turn.) There were no cities available to help Red, and she was forced to abandon her nice route. She was not to recover from this set-back.
Yellow finally got the Basel card he was looking for, and captured the Outside of Baiern 6VP chip. He was ready to turn his attention to finishing the Baiern proper province and possibly trigger the game end. But it was not to be. Blue, who had begun quickly but had cooled a bit, had continued to pick up small VP chips across the board, and triggered endgame when she used the support of the Cartwright to capture her 7 point cart. Green had no play left as he had not begun a new route yet. Red was able to make a play but did not change her point status, and Yellow added two cities to an established route, and placed two more houses, leaving him with two.
Final score: Blue – 24, Yellow – 23, Green – 19, and Red – somewhere behind.
I believe this game served our purposes quite well as an introduction to Euro-style games for our friends. It plays reasonably friendly, and the concept is intuitively simple to grasp. I hope we’ve added two more friends to our game group.