Bunker Project Log

24 Sep

Thurn and Taxis on the floor


I suck at rules. I have spoiled many a game night gathering the dorks together to play some new game, only to find that, yes… there are some?important rules on the third through sixth pages… and… Yes! Players have a hard time playing when they don’t know how to win, and YES!! If you wreck the first play of a good game, it doesn’t matter how good it could have been, first impressions matter.

So, I decided to fix this. My first step? Read the rules… all the way through. A bunch of times!

The problem with this is, now I?have invested?time in the game. Thus, I?must play it, with whomever is around, and in this case, the victim was Mrs. G.

The second step? Explain the rules, starting with the victory condition. Not the mechanic that I think is so damn cool. Nobody cares about that. They want to know why they are playing. Then you can move on to the how.

The third step? Play…?flawlessly?

My victim seemed hesitant,?but really?didn’t have much choice in the matter, so we played anyway. In the end, it went so smoothly that I am having a hard time writing about it. There weren’t any strings of turns that needed to be replayed because of misread rules, nor a single moment where we didn’t have any idea what to do next. There wasn’t even a patented Gangrene “mid-game rule” (wherein I remember to divulge the rule halfway through the game that totally?changes the way the whole game is played.)?It was almost anti-climactic! Just like this story…

For those of you interested, what follows is the basics of how to play Thurn and Taxis. I have glossed over a few details (the carriage in particular) in order to give you a quick feel for how the game is played. If you have specific questions, ask them in the comments and I will try to answer them as best I can.

The object of Thurn?and Taxis is to create postal routes over a European map centered on historic Bavaria.

Completing routes allows you to build houses in cities along the route.


You are?rewarded points for having at least one house in each city in a province. You also get points for having at least one house in all of the provinces on the map. Each of these goals has a corresponding set of chits that reside on the board. The point values descend as each person achieves the goal. For example, the first person to complete the Baiern province will get?five points. The next person will get four. Some provinces only have three victory chits, thus the fourth player gets nothing for the achievement.

The Baiern chit stack, with the five already taken

Victory progression

?Points are also gained by creating exceptionally long routes from five to seven cities long.

?At the end of the game, each players points are added up, and the number of unplaced houses is subtracted from the total. The highest?total wins.


In the picture above, Green gets:

2 Points for a 5-city route
3 Points for a 6-city route
2 Points for a 7-city route (Note: there are four 7-city chits, and two with higher values had been taken by the Yellow player first)
3 Points for completing Schweiz-Tyrol (the blue toned chit)
4 Points for completing Bohmen-Salzburg (the orange toned chit)
6 Points for?placing a house in every province
1 Point for creating the end game condition (the laureled chit)
10 Points for a?level 7 Carriage
-1 Point for?1 unplaced house
30 Points Total?

Routes are created by playing city cards from your hand, and placing them in front of you, one per turn (two with assistance from the Postal Carrier, more on this later).


In the picture above, the player has created a four city route from Basel – Zurich – Kempten – Augsburg. In the hand below are the cities Freiburg, Innsbuck, and Ingolstadt. The player could close the route as is, since routes are only required to have three cities. Or, the route could be expanded to the left with the Freiburg card, or to the right with either the Innsbruck or?the Ingolstadt card. (Click here for a larger version of the picture.) Routes?may not be expanded in the middle between two previously laid cards.?

When a route is closed, the player has a choice. You can add a house to every city, in?one province on the route orone city in each province in the route. In the example above. If the player decide to close the Basel – Zurich – Kempten – Augsburg route, the player could choose to place a city in Basel and Zurich (every city in?one province on the route ) orthe player could place a city in (Bazel or Zurich) and (Kempten or Augsburg). The choice gets more complex as the routes get longer.

Your hand is populated by pulling?one card each turn (Two with assistance from the Postmaster). These can come from the display, or the stack.

The display

Card Stock

For those of you who have played Ticket to Ride, this is similar to the revealed pool of train cards that can be chosen from.

?The display is replenished immediately from the topmost card in the stack as each card is taken. The entire display can be discarded and replaced with the assistance of the Administrator.


The Help

During each?turn, the player is?allowed to ask for help from one of four people. The Postal carrier, the Postmaster, the Administrator, and the Cartwright. These allow you to modify your turn depending on your need. If you?trying to?get a route down quickly, say to beat your opponent to the first 7-city reward chit, you may ask the Postal carrier for help, allowing you to place two cities per turn instead of one. If you need to build up a hand full of cities for more route options, you would ask the Postmaster for help. If you can use none of the cards in the display, and desperately need a particular city, you would ask the administrator for help.

Now to turn this all on it’s head and boil the sequence of play down to the major steps:

1) Pull?one city card from the display?or the stack (two with assistance from the Postmaster)
2) Place?one city card?at either end of?your route (two with assistance from the Postal carrier)
3) If possible and desired, close the route, placing houses, gathering bonus chits, and upgrading your carriage?as deserved

That’s it.

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