Friday, July 14, 2006
Thurn und Taxis
Maybe the most treasured game at ConVic4 was intheclear's copy of Thurn und Taxis. It had arrived the day before from Germany, and he'd printed out the rules from the 'geek, and everybody was keen to play the expected Spiel des Jahres winner. I was definitely included in that, because one of my other hobbies (in abeyance at the moment) is stamp collecting. particularly the pre-federation stamps of Australia, Malaysia and Germany. I have a number of the original stamps issued by the Thurn und Taxis family when they were running their postal service.
CyberKev, Gregor, Andrea and I found the Thurn und Taxis box unguarded and unused, and immediately set about playing it. The basic mechanism is that you collect sets of adjacent cities (routes), and when you score a route you get to put post offices on some of those cities. You get points for the length of the route, having a post office in all cities in a state, having a post office in almost all states, and stuff like that. When someone finishes a length 7 route the game ends at the end of that round, and whoever has the most points wins.
This was yet another game where I didn't pay enough attention to the victory conditions, or maybe I just had a misguided plan that didn't work, but I was struggling to keep up with CyberKev and Andrea. Gregor had a lot of post offices but not a lot of points. I remember struggling to get cards I needed. Eventually I decided I needed to build a post office in Lodz to keep up, and I couldn't find a Lodz card anywhere. I think CyberKev was holding on to two of them which was pretty cunning. I lost touch, and CyberKev and Andrea ran away with the points. I ended the game to put myself out of my misery. A CyberKev followed me in the turn order, he was able to make a move to get the point to beat Andrea.
Despite being flogged, I really loved this game. The map is beautiful, it is simple to play but requires thought, and I love the theme. I'm gonna get it. And I'm gonna play till I win once, at least. I hope it wins the Spiel des Jahre, that will make it easier to find!