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Best game for aspiring German postmasters general: Thurn and Taxis

Who wants to deliver the ~mail~?

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Thurn and Taxis Rio Grande Games
Dylan Matthews is a senior correspondent and head writer for Vox's Future Perfect section and has worked at Vox since 2014. He is particularly interested in global health and pandemic prevention, anti-poverty efforts, economic policy and theory, and conflicts about the right way to do philanthropy.

Board Game Geek ranking: 7.1/10.0 (262nd).

After its founding in the 13th century by Omodeo Tasso, The Princely House of Thurn and Taxis was instrumental in developing the Holy Roman Empire’s postal system, over which they would eventually gain a formal monopoly lasting until the empire’s dissolution in 1806. So, naturally, the family’s namesake game involves the creation of postal networks in Bavaria and surrounding areas in modern-day Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Czech Republic.

Its gameplay is thus very similar to Ticket to Ride or Power Grid, with players gaining points for the length of the postal routes they create, for the number of post office markers they place, and for reaching certain target lengths that change as the game goes on. When the final target length is reached or a player runs out of post office markers, the game ends.

Unlike Ticket to Ride, the game is not destination-based, so players who enjoyed that game but want a free-form experience should love Thurn and Taxis. The one downside, as with Power Grid, is that there is no way to play the game electronically, which makes practice more difficult. It’s also out of print, so you’ll have to buy a used copy, either on Amazon or Board Game Geek.

Buy at Amazon: Thurn and Taxis ($74.95); Thurn and Taxis: Power and Glory ($55.29); Thurn and Taxis: All Roads Lead to Rome ($29.44).