Thurn & Taxis Online Tournament

Thurn & Taxis Online
Season 5 Signups Available

Sign Up For Season 5!

Players are sorted into Groups of 7 players based on previous results.  In a season, each player plays in 4 games. Each other member of your league will be in 2 games against you.

Divisions are based on previous Season results. New players enter at the bottom level for their first season.

If you do sign up, you are committing to checking the website a couple of times on most days (it’s OK if something comes up every once in a while, or if you’re out of town for a weekend (for example), but in general we’re hoping game lengths will be measured in weeks not months.

If you want to play, please sign up below and we'll email you when the season opens:

Thurn & Taxis Online Signup

Season 4 Standings

As games end the standings are updated. See how each Group is doing and check on your friends and rivals.

If the frame below is hard to read on your device follow the link:

Tournament Results

Thurn & Taxis Online Tournament
Season 4 Report Results

Only the winner of each game should record the results. Use the form below. Be sure to add the seat number of the player who triggered the game end.

If you have problems using the form on this page CLICK HERE TO SEE JUST THE FORM.

Game Assignments

Season 5 Matches

Our Thurn & Taxis tournaments use the online implementation at www.yucata.de. We use the original version of the game – no expansion content, and no special options.

If you have trouble viewing the list below, click here to see just the listing.

Matches will be posted here when signups close.

Andy Latto’s Tie-Break Rationale

Andy Latto is a very competitive gamer. Beating him at Thurn & Taxis was when I knew I understood the game. Having him win a game that you are teaching him is no longer a surprise. Andy is also generous with his time and talent to the hobby. Andy is the Game Master for the Thurn & Taxis tournament at the World Boardgaming Championships every year. To keep track of his tournament, Andy created a Google Sheets spreadsheet to register and track entrants in the tournament. He has, generously, shared it with other GMs and I will be using it for the 2nd time for my Puerto Rico tournament at WBC this year.

Along with other clever programming throughout, Andy implemented his tie-breaker rules for advancement. As part of the documentation, Andy explains why he uses certain tie-break rules. I found that so interesting (and well explained) that I felt compelled to share just that with other folks who may never explore Andy’s GM spreadsheet. So here, in his own words (and with permission), is Andy Latto’s tournament advancement tie-break philosophy. You may disagree, but if you do, I hope your reasoning is as clear as Andy’s.

Thurn and Taxis tiebreak system is as follows:

Each game you play that you finish first or second, you score points as follows:

  • Win in first game played: 1500 points plus (your score/second place score)
  • Win not in first game played: 1000 points plus (your score/second place score)
  • Second place, 4-player game: 100 points plus 10 * (your score/winner’s score)
  • Second place, 3-player game: 50 points plus 10 * (your score/winner’s score).
  • Top 16 scores qualify for the finals.

This scoring system was designed to fulfill the following goals:

1. Playing never hurts

People should always be encouraged, not discouraged, from playing a game. So I never want to put people in the situation of "I qualify now, but if I play again, and do badly, I might not qualify". So playing an additional game can only help, not hurt, your qualification score."

2. Reward achievement, not attendance.

The best players should qualify for the semifinals. Showing up for a heat and finishing last doesn't show you are a good player; it just shows that you showed up. So points are awarded only for finishing at least average, which in a game with 3 or 4 players, means 1st or 2nd. If you play a heat and finish 3rd or 4th, it doesn't hurt, but it doesn't help, either.

3. Scores should only be counted as score differentials.

In many games, a game may be high scoring for everyone or low scoring for everyone, depending on how the game goes. A Thurn and Taxis or Saint Petersburg game with many turns will have higher scores for everyone, but doesn't mean that everyone is a better player. So the absolute score should never be used in the qualification formula, since it gives an incentive to aim for a high-scoring game, which can be in conflict with the main objective of scoring higher than the other players.

4. Score differentials should be measured by ratios.

If scores are higher, we expect score differentials to be higher, too. So winning 15 to 10 is a more impressive achievement than winning 20 to 15, and should get more tiebreak points. So the tiebreak always measures the ratio of your score to another's score, rather than a difference. This has the added benefit of producing far fewer ties; since an 18-17 win is just slightly better by ratio than an 18-19 win, exact ratio ties are very rare except when both compared scores are the same.

5. Compare to other good players where possible.

Tournaments will always include some beginners who play poorly and finish with very low scores. The difference in skill, and therefore in score between the best and the worst players can be quite large, and the luck of having a very weak player at your table should not be rewarded. Some luck of the draw is unavoidable, but if we say that it's unlikely that there will be more than two very weak players at a table, their effect on qualification is minimized if the first player is only compared to the second player, and vice versa, rather than comparing to all players or to an average.

Also, to the extent that one can make plays that target particular other players, I'd rather the first and second player target each other, rather than target the players who are losing, which I think makes a more fun experience for all.

6. Count closeness of seconds as more important than big firsts.

A close second means you did well against a player who won, while a win far ahead of second only means you did well against a player who came in second. There's less evidence you did well against a good player, so you get fewer tiebreak points.

7. First in a three player game counts as much as first in a four player game, but second in a three player game counts for less than in a four player game.

If first didn't count as much for three players as four, a player in a three player game would be at a severe handicap in qualifying. A second in a three-player game is easier to achieve than a second in a four-player game, so it counts for less. The fact that you can't get full credit for a second balances out the fact that it's easier to get a first.

8. For simplicity, incorporate the HMW (heats: most wins) rules into the formula

Technically, the point formula should only apply if the list of precedence rules for qualification reaches the ‘GM specified tiebreak rule’. But I think it's easier to understand a rule that says "Add these up; highest score qualifies” than one that says:
"First see who has most wins; then see who has a win in their first heat entered, then...then add these numbers up and see who is highest"
So the size of the bonuses for win in first heat entered, other win, and second place ensure that the standard HMW rules will be followed, with the tiebreak points only mattering in comparing people with the same number of firsts and same number of seconds, and both or neither having a win in first heat entered.

If your tournament is HSW (heats: single win), rather than HMW, so that a win in the first heat entered is more important than two wins, you can achieve this by modifying the points for win in first heat entered to be:

Win in first game played: 5000 points plus (your score/second place score)

Feedback on this scoring system is welcome; email me at andy.latto@pobox.com.

Thanks, Andy, for permission to publish this. If you, gentle reader, have different view, please add it as a comment to this article. If the terminology of tournament structure is unfamiliar, you should read the WBC GM Guidelines at

http://www.boardgamers.org/wbc_gmeventform.html

Kyle Smith on Thurn & Taxis Strategy

Thurn & Taxis: Don't Just Mail it In

Thurn & Taxis, the 2006 Spiel des Jahres winner, was one of the first games I purchased when I first got into the boardgaming hobby 10 years ago. It has remained one of my favorites over the years and I believe I've played close to 600 games (thanks in large part to Yucata). Although it's certainly not the 'deepest' game, I feel there are multiple layers of strategy to discover and potentially master. There is some luck involved, as with any game played with a shuffled deck of cards. For me, however, the ratio of strategy to luck is just right. On occasion, the extremes of good or bad luck can decide the game, but not often enough for it to bother me.

Basics

There are a number of things that most players realize pretty quickly in their first couple plays:

Planning ahead - While picking up and playing cards for your current route, you need to also think about and start taking cards for your next route.

Key Cities and the 'Around the World' Bonus Chit - The bonus chit for getting into all colors is an important bonus. Although it's possible to win without it, the winning player will have one of these chits a vast majority of the time. As a result, the colors with just a single city (Lodz, Innsbruck, and Sigmaringen) are a little more valuable initially. You can also add Pilsen to that list, as it's the only way to get into Lodz.

Efficiency - An average game of Thurn probably lasts around 17-21 turns. That's not a lot, so you need to be efficient with your actions and your routes. That efficiency comes in several forms.

  1. Try to complete routes that allow you to place a post office in each city from the route, or all but one.
  2. Avoid (as much as possible) going through cities you've already placed houses in earlier in the game.
  3. Don't have more than three cards in hand when you close a route.
  4. Make smart use of the Cartwright and Administrator, but don’t over use them.

When I'm teaching Thurn to a new player I usually incorporate the above into the rules explanation. I consider these the 'common sense' that they'll learn within a game or so anyway.
The rest of this article is my attempt to explain my own personal strategies on different areas and situations.

Reshuffles

In a four-player game, you'll generally go through the deck around two times or so, depending on Administrator use. With only 3 copies of each city in the deck, obviously at least one player will miss out on the key cards the first time through. When the opportunity is there, I will try to make sure I'm working on a route that includes a key city when the first shuffle occurs. Better yet, I'll also be holding another key city in my hand ready for my next route. I'm often willing to take a tempo hit to extend a route one extra turn to keep a card out of the shuffle, especially if another copy is also out.

In addition, it's important to pay attention to what routes are in process at the first shuffle to be able to better plan routes for the next time through the deck. It's not unusual for two copies of a key city to be sitting in front of players at the shuffle. I often see this with Pilsen-Lodz. Unless a player gets both together early, it's often a player’s second or third route which puts it close to the shuffle. It's a tough position to need a card with only one available, tougher still when you don't realize it.

Relative Play Order

This is an area that I don't feel a lot of players think too much about, but I consider to be key. No matter where I'm at in turn order, I always have the most impact on the player to my left and the least on the player to my right. Early in a game, I make a conscious effort to work on a route (or start collecting for the next route) that follows my left-hand neighbor. Likewise, I try to stay away from anything my right-hand neighbor is currently working on. I've talked to players that think I'm counter-drafting them, but that's not really the case. I rarely take a card I don't intend and expect to play. Ultimately, it's not something you can always make happen, especially if you have a strong right-hand-opponent who is thinking the same way, but I find I'm able to use this strategy to my advantage in a majority of my games. A lot of strategies/tactics I use may only result in small incremental gains, but when the winning scores are in the teens and low twenties, that can make all the difference that's needed.

Turn Order

Actual turn order does have an impact on how I play, at least at the beginning of the game. Once I see how the other players are playing, that will often impact how I play out the rest of the game. Here are my thoughts on each seat.

Seat 1

Many players think seat 1 is the strongest. You have a head start on being the first player to get one or more of the bonus chits, including the 'around the world'. You are also initially in control of the pace of the game. When I can get the first color bonus chit after just my first two routes, I'll usually continue to push the pace of the game.

Seat 2

I consider this the weakest seat and I think statistics from WBC show that to be the case, if only slightly. It's not as good as seat 1 for chit advantage or pacing and has none of the advantages that I think make seat 3 or 4 better. It's not enough for me to be overly concerned when I start second but enough for me to be aware that it's my least favorite seat.

Seat 4

My preference is to go last. There are couple things I think seat 4 has going for it. As I mentioned earlier, I value relative player order pretty highly and the player in seat 4 has the most information to start the game. You know every other player’s first two cards (unless someone draws blind); which card they played first; and most of the cards that will be left on the board to start turn 2. That's a lot of valuable information to start the game with and getting that information is the primary reason I value seat 4 the highest. Another benefit is knowing when the game will end or, occasionally, being the player in control of ending the game. If you can take the lead in carts, you can potentially force the other players to close their final route prematurely in anticipation of what could be the final turn. This can often earn extra points by picking up a remaining long-route chit.

Seat 3

Seat 3 is not as good as seat 4 in the same way that seat 2 is inferior to seat 1. However, I still really like seat 3. I'm probably in the minority, but I actually put seat 3 ahead of seat 1 in my personal ranking. The extra starting info and the possibility of forcing 2 out of 3 opponents to close their final routes early puts this ahead of seat 1 for me.

Tempo and the Cartwright

On the majority of your turns, you'll be using either the 'Draw 2' or 'Play 2' special ability so it's fair to think of your turn as having 3 actions. Every city in a route costs you two actions; one to draw the card and one to play it. With 20 post offices, you need a minimum of 40 actions, or 14 turns, to be able to end the game that way. However, you are bound to need to hit a couple cities more than once, adding a few turns to that. If a player is rushing to the 7-cart by using the cartwright, turn 14 is also the earliest that the game end can be triggered. The 7-cart is worth 3 points more than the 6-cart, which is over 10% of most winning scores. It's another 2 points less for the 5-cart. In addition, the first player to acquire a 7 also gets the 1 point bonus for ending the game so if you end the game while still on the 6-cart, you already have 4 points to make up. I point all this out to stress the importance of keeping pace with the cart leader. Although Thurn is not a race game, it often plays out like one. The cartwright ability serves a couple purposes in relation to tempo – 1) It can help maintain pace with the cart leader; 2) It can help you catch up when other circumstances have caused you to fall behind; and 3) it allows you to get away from small routes while still picking up the next cart.

The Administrator

Don't be afraid to use the Administrator. I've seen plenty of players refuse to (or rarely) 'flush' the cards because they consider it inefficient or feel that it just helps the other players too much. On its surface, the administrator does “waste” 1 action, by depriving you of the ability to draw or play a city. However, if the ideal cards aren't there to draw, you aren't losing a good action. The alternatives are drawing blind off the top or taking a less desirable card for your route, possibly hitting a duplicate city. The blind draw could get you a completely useless card (for the 1 action wasted as using the Administrator) and leaves you in the same position for your next action. That’s not to say there aren’t times to draw blind as well. If there are several connectors that will work and the deck is low and you’re confident there’s a good chance, then go for it. But also pay attention to what cards your opponents are currently looking for. The flush can be used as a good defensive play, getting rid of someone’s key card while improving your own card selection. Similarly, if I notice that there is nothing on the board that connects to the next player’s route, I may be more likely to blind draw, and possibly put them into a position where they need to flush.

Conclusion

Most of these may only result in small incremental advantages, but in a game with winning scores averaging around 20 it can make the difference. While I always keep these strategies in mind, there are times when you need to zig instead of zag. I don’t consider any of these strategies to be absolute. That's what keeps the game interesting even after so many plays, and the ability to know when to alter your plan is what separates the top players from the rest. It's no fluke that many of the same people make semis and finals year after year despite WBC fields of 150+ players.

About Kyle Smith

Kyle Smith is unquestionably one of the best Thurn and Taxis players in the world. He won the annual Thurn and Taxis event at the World Boardgaming Championship in 2011 and has since finished in 2nd place twice – in 2014 and again in 2016. He's also made the finals at Euroquest in 4 of the last 5 years (with 2 wins). For a game with as much randomness as T&T this is a truly impressive resume. For whatever it’s worth, he’s also the single player I fear the most whenever he sits down at my own T&T tournament table. While he’s a great guy away from the table, as you’ll read here his in-game strategy is both cutthroat and very effective. - Randy

Thurn & Taxis Online Season 1

by Randy Buehler, Meeple League Director of Online Events

This page allows you to follow Season 1 of the Thurn & Taxis online league. Everyone starts at zero points, of course. As results come in the standings will be updated, with players scoring 10 points for winning a game, 6 points for second, 3 points for third, and 1 point for fourth.

The first season has 5 total leagues spread across 3 divisions. Each league has 7 players and each player will be in 4 games, facing each opponent in 2 of them. (The full schedule of games is available HERE.)

Players should use THIS FORM to report results whenever a game ends. (Please do not expect the standings to update instantaneously as we are still working on automating that process. For now it's still being done by hand.)

Once this season is over, league winners will be promoted to the next division up the ladder while 6th and 7th place finishers will drop to the next division down the ladder. (Full rules can be seen HERE.) New players are also welcome to join when the next season starts - if you aren't already in the league but would like to be notified when the next one starts taking sign-ups, please click here: Online Thurn & Taxis event announcement.

Standings

Here are the 5 divisions for season 1:

T&T Season 1 Division 1 League A

Player NameGame Site NameWinsCompleted games (of 4)Points
Sceadeau d'TelaSceadeau2432
Alex BoveMontu2426
Kyle SmithEmanon1423
Rob MurrayZenvedev1420
Rob Kircherrkircher418
Randy Buehlerrbuehler1415
Andy Lattoandylatto46

T&T Season 1 Division 2 League A

Player NameGame Site NameWinsCompleted games (of 4)Points
Gilbert Quinonezligtreb1425
Haim Hoichboimhaimke2424
Cary MorrisDagKees1422
Volker Kleinschmidtvolkerk2422
Dominic ReberezDefdamesdompi1420
Mats WikstromZegol416
Bjorn JansonDermerlin411

T&T Season 1 Division 2 League B

Player NameGame Site NamePointsCompleted games (of 4)
Steven LeWinterslewinter314
Hilary Smithhilaryd10294
Devan Maggidevan20.54
Marcy MorelliMarcy184
Nick PageZiggyny14.54
Hermann Reschasamat144
Matt Killianmagakill134

T&T Season 1 Division 3 League A

Player NameGame Site NamePointsCompleted games (of 4)
Andrew MenardDragonWargamer364
John Fordbyrdalumnus234
Greg Crowegregcrowe204
Norman HuebnerNormanH163
Christian EschNebresh123
Andrew Drummondardrummo103
Max Jamellilefty33

T&T Season 1 Division 3 League B

Player NameGame Site NameWinsCompleted games (of 4)Points
Richard M. Shaylabratz2432
Chris Wildeswildes2429
John Corradojmc0032424
Lexi Sheasccrymsc58131417
Erik Lankselanks416
David LutesGelatinousGoo414
Dave Blizzarddavebliz48

Questions?

Feel free to email the GM (online_league at meepleleague dot com) with any questions you might have.

Online Thurn & Taxis Tournament

Sign-ups closed for Meeple League's 1st Online Event!

Reserve a spot for the next Season Below

Here at the Meeple League our primary mission is to improve the quality of board game tournament offerings. We are delighted to announce that one of the ways we will do that is by offering our own online events! Just like "live” events, we will use a standardized format so you’ll know what to expect whenever you sign up, but the details for online events will be different from the typical tournaments you might have experienced at a convention.

This article will walk you through everything you can expect from our League format, plus – most importantly – tell you how you can sign up for our first  supported game: Thurn & Taxis!

Our online events will be structured as ongoing leagues, and not as one-shot tournaments. When you sign up you will be placed in a league along with 6 other gamers, and you will be placed into 4 total games (with each other member of your division appearing in 2 of them). All the games will be played “asynchronously” through a specified website, which means players will each check in to see if it’s their turn several times a day at their convenience, and the games will play out over the course of several weeks.

Once all the games are done, we use a point system to see who won each league (10 points for 1st, 6 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, and 1 point for finishing last). The leagues themselves are divided into divisions and whenever you win a league, you get promoted up to a tougher (but more prestigious) division. Meanwhile, if you finish in the bottom 2 of your league, you get demoted into an easier division for the next season. We’ll keep track of lifetime standings so everyone can see how they measure up, and we’ll also be prominently displaying the names of everyone who wins division one. Click to see detailed rules.

Fans of Terra Mystica may recognize this as the same basic format being used on http://tmtour.org/#/ to govern tournaments run using the online implementation at http://terra.snellman.net.

We think this system will work well for lots of other games, too. Note that in order to seed players for the very first season, we’ll be using the lifetime laurel counts from the Boardgame Players Association – aka, the folks who run the World Boardgaming Championship . You can check your laurels for the game on the T&T Event History Page.

Thurn & Taxis is a nice light Euro-game that has been very popular on the tournament circuit ever since it won the Spiel des Jahres in 2006. It’s actually one of the few games at the World Boardgaming Championships that’s big enough to require a quarter-final round.

Our Thurn & Taxis League will use the online implementation at www.yucata.de. We will use the original version of the game – no expansion content, and no special options. Games are scheduled to start in late January and you’ll receive a schedule in your email once the pairings are ready. If you do sign up, you are committing to checking the website a couple of times on most days (it’s OK if something comes up every once in a while, or if you’re out of town for a weekend (for example), but in general we’re hoping game lengths will be measured in weeks not months.

If you want to play in future Thurn & Taxis tournament, please sign up here:

You must be 13 or older to participate. If you are 13 to 17 years old, you must have parent/guardian approval.
You must have an account on yucate.de to play.
If you have laurels listed on the BPA website that will be used to match players in leagues.
You don't have to join the Meeple League to play, but we would really like you to join us.