Back to a Classic: Fun with Thurn and Taxis Postal Routes
Create postal routes and travel across the Bavarian region on a beautifully illustrated map in Thurn and Taxis.
There are some board games that still stand out as those that introduced me to the hobby. Although Thurn and Taxis wasn’t the first, it was one of the early ones. It’s always remained one of my favorites with an unofficial solo variant, and it was finally time to return to this cozy world of setting up routes and placing little wooden houses!
This solo puzzle offers up a challenge to fill the provinces with the different colored houses. Gameplay is relatively simple, yet figuring out how to balance completing short and long routes can be very strategic! With a gorgeous map filled with details, this is a lovely sight on the table.
August 27, 2017
September 18, 2023
32" x 24"
The Right Level of Awe
One of my favorite board game characters is on the cover of this box art. That level of excitement is the correct amount for any sort of package delivery day. Ha ha!
Owing to the extensive overland travel and just sheer amazement, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring out the popcorn tricycle for a trip across Bavaria!
With a nicely positioned box in the background, someone looked awestruck by the prospect of moving popcorn.
Hey, I get it! If I could make a safe, street-legal version of this, that would be my vehicle of choice. Forever. Ha!
This one is coming up on its 20-year anniversary! My copy isn’t quite as old as that, but it certainly has some wear and tear from its early years as a family game.
Gameplay is mostly about crafting routes and placing the wooden houses to gain bonus tiles. Nothing complex, yet very challenging with the higher difficulty levels!
I’m quite partial to these components, too, as they’re far from perfect and have some manufacturing defects.
The blue house with the gouged roof always gets a special place, and the yellow houses clearly show wood patterns.
Filling Up the Map
Even though I last played several years ago, this one gave me the same cozy feelings I’ve always loved about it.
Setup creates a unique sort of puzzle. It’s possible to tell at a glance what some of the best routes might be for each color, although the card order is always unpredictable!
All colors must have a route completed before they can be repeated, which is another fun part of the challenge.
Can you spot the gouged roof house? Ha! I was on top of my game from the start, scoring pretty well and talking out loud through all of my moves. Love this solo variant!
Although it’s possible to have a general plan from the setup process, the city cards make the biggest impact.
Sometimes, they don’t cooperate and even force routes to be abandoned. The horror! Other times, the right ones come out to form one of the best routes available.
In this case, it might have been nice to connect Zurich with Kempten, but I settled for a very nice route! There were no blue houses in any of these cities.
Scoring a route places 1 house in each province, or houses in all of the cities in a single provinces. Choices!
Going Back in Time with Old Classics
Published nearly 20 years ago, this one definitely feels like it’s aged a bit compared to some of the more modern board games, but it’s certainly not too old! Bringing this one back to my table was like a trip down memory lane. I remember playing it with my parents and brother, and some memories of the early years playing it solo returned. So awesome!
I’m still looking at board game emotions and memories, yet I think those are the important pieces that I’ve never really been able to describe before. Not every great game needs to be associated with entirely positive emotions: It’s the strength that matters. I can look at this box on a shelf and immediately recall the fun memories I have of my plays!
I nearly forgot how important it is to carefully plan short and long routes! Collecting carriage cards is based on the length of a route, anywhere from 3 to 7 city cards.
However, if 4 carriages of the same size are taken, that route length is no longer available. Scoring is also based on making sets of these carriage cards.
The rules are all pretty clear, yet the nuances in how all of the components work make this one of my favorites.
It doesn’t try to be the most amazing game, but it achieves a lot. Plus, I just love the artwork and components!
Riding Into Town
A few of my plays were downright terrible as I made some poor decisions or took too many risks. So I needed some kind of secret weapon to really bring it all home.
Popcorn tricycle inbound! I even found a proper driver this time around to maneuver between all of the houses. Home popcorn delivery service… Coming to Bavaria this autumn.
I managed a very nice score with this helper. Apparently, I’ve been building a popcorn tricycle route the whole time!
Despite some close calls with the wrong city cards, this was the perfect way to end this session with a victory.
Play Number: 51-54
Solo Mode: Unofficial Solo Variant
Play Details: Advanced Difficulty Level
Outcome: 54, 34, 47, 65 (1 Win & 3 Losses)
So many bonus tiles! It was really fun to collect these and watch my routes turn into victory points. There is a really fun puzzle to work through here, and I’m so glad I kept this game! It remains one of my oldest games that I never thought I would play solo… And here it is, holding up over all these years and continuing to make it into my list of favorite solo games. Simply grand, and now with popcorn!
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- Gameplay moves very quickly with a limited number of choices each round, which makes every choice important.
- Map setups might lean more towards shorter or longer routes, and it takes experience to see the differences.
- The requirement to complete a route for every wooden house color before repeating a color adds more planning.
- Difficulty levels adjust the placement of wooden houses during setup, which is very easy to customize.
- There is something beautiful and calming about the artwork that puts this into a special realm of cozy solo games.
- Although the rules are simple, the challenge feels unique with figuring out how to create the best routes.
– Cons (Negatives)
- Setup typically sets some important elements about the overall challenge, which can be very random.
- Having the right city cards come out at the right time can come down to sheer luck, leading to abandoned routes.
- Gameplay doesn’t offer that much variability between plays, as everything plays out in roughly the same way.
- It takes a little time to get used to the visual piece in order to easily tell the locations of different wooden houses.
Score 60+ Points
- Overall Goal Progress 67% 67%
Goals and Milestones
Collect 3 All Province Bonus Tiles in at least 1 game.
Score at least 80 points.
Score at least 85 points.
Continue the Conversation
Have you played the solo variant for Thurn and Taxis? What other older multiplayer games have you managed to play solo? This one is filled with fond memories for me, and somehow always makes me happy! It’s a fun challenge that offers a rather relaxing experience. Even after so many years, it holds up and remains one of my favorite experiences!