Friday, August 17, 2012

Thurn and Taxis: Power and Glory

Thurn and Taxis: Power and Glory
Designed by Andreas and Karen Seyfarth

Power and Glory is the first expansion to Thurn and Taxis and it does not disappoint. For those familiar with Thurn and Taxis read on, and for those who are not as familiar with the original or base game I suggest reading about it here first.

Now, Power and Glory is not an expansion in the sense that it adds components to the original board, but it provides a different map and a different way to play with the houses used from the base game. And I have to say, I'm not sure which one I like the best (I think The Wife actually enjoys the Power and Glory board and variation better than the original) which is definitely saying something for this expansion.

I'll break my review up into the two main differences between this expansion and the base game starting with the new board. The new board has color coated regions just as the first but they are arranged a bit differently. The largest color region is actually split into to areas of the board (which I like) and there are a few "free cities." The free cities are independent cities (not belonging to any region) and even though they are all represented by a gold color, they are not considered to be a region or color category for means of placing houses (you can only build in one of these cities when scoring a route). The first player to place a house in the free city obtains 1 point. The free cities do not contribute in any way to the diversity bonus (in which a player has a house in each region). I like the new map, and it helps provide more replay to the game as a whole (I even wish they would have provided a double sided board like Power Grid, but it would have been a bit more difficult with additional cards needed). The good news is you can also play with all the same original rules and just play with the new board as well, but the variation provided in this game might actually be preferred to the original. Let's take a look.

In the Power and Glory variation, there are no carriage cards obtained for building routes 4, 5, 6, and 7 long.  The game therefore doesn't end until someone's houses are all gone (they still obtain a bonus point and tie-breaker tile for ending the game). Players will still want to build longer routes, because this game has bonus tiles for length once again (on up to 8 long). You can obtain these tiles at a first played, first gained basis. Basically, this opens the game up a bit and gets rid of the time component of the carriages - not allowing players to speed or slow the game by the carriage cards (they can still do this by choosing how they play their houses). The main change to go along with this change is the horses. Each of the cities has 3 cards just like the original, but the back of the cards have either 1, 2, or 3 horses on the back. Each player starts with a carriage card with 2 horses (each card on the front also has a representation of the horses by horseshoes 1, 2, or, 3) and while playing a card down into their playing area, a player may choose to play a card as horses to his carriage instead of adding to the route. The player must have at least as many horses as the player does cities before the player can close and score his route.

I really enjoy the variation in play. I believe it actually makes it easier in some ways, especially in regards to having to discard a route. If a player doesn't have the city he needs to continue his route, he can play horses to his carriage instead (max of 6 cards to the carriage) and wait and see if the city comes up next time. I have not concluded which I prefer more yet (the original or the P&G horses variation), but I believe the horses to be a great variation. Definitely worth getting this expansion for Thurn and Taxis and that is How Lou Sees It.

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