Board game: The Taverns of Tiefenthal

I have a library full of games. At its height it contained almost 500 different ones, these days I brought it back to 234 games according to board game geek. Naturally I have several games about beer and once in a post I’d like to tell more about one of them. This time it’s time for:

The Taverns of Tiefenthal

I received this gorgeous game for Board Game Geek’s Secret Santa’s board game exchange last year. This exchange is awesome! It’s basically a world wide exchange in which you receive a random name from someone in the world who you have to gift a board game. Of course their are some rules, and you can limit the countries of your potential target, but the most fun is to get to learn to know other countries, even if it is sometimes a bit hard to buy games there or even send games there. I had a target in Argentina, which was a whole adventure in itself.

The Taverns of Tiefenthal is a game for two to four players with a playing time of 60 minutes according to the box, but I think it took us longer than that. It’s a fairly complex game with a game weight of 2,68 on a scale of 5 according to board game geek. In Taverns of Tiefenthal you are expanding your own pub while binding a select group of wealthy, important customers to your premise to gain more fame and become the most profitable tavern in Tiefenthal.

The Taverns of Tiefenthal is a deck builder and a bit of a drafting game. I talked a bit about deckbuilding in Dice Brewing. You win the game by having the most points at the end of round 8 and you gain points from the cards in your deck and the upgrades in your tavern. The more special the cards in your deck, the more points you gain and you gain the most from the nobles. But don’t forget the upgrades in your tavern, they will gain you points as well ánd help you during the game with their special abilities.

The gameplay is a bit complex to explain, but I will give you a summary. As said the game consists of eight rounds. Each round you first have to fill your tavern with guests and service, by playing the cards in your deck one-by-one on your tavern. As soon as you filled all your tables, you stop. The cards are mostly guests, but you might also have others in your deck to help you along, like a waitresses, extra tables, dishwashers, beer handlers and beer suppliers. Guests go to the tables, the others to their designated areas. Second you will roll your dice and then draft them. You take one, give the other dice to the next player, who takes one and gives it to their next player, etc. You end up with four dice again, and maybe some extra for the waitresses you have. Third you can place the dice on your board to gain beer and money. In the fourth step you can use the beer to get new, more prestigious guests in your deck of cards and the money to upgrade parts of your tavern and/or get more service in your deck. Afterwards you clean it all up and start another round.

This is the base game. The game comes with four modules to expand the game, after you tried the base game for a few times.

First time I read the rulebook, I was a bit confused. And I don’t get that easily with board games, of which I play quite a lot and quite complex ones. It just didn’t seem to click with me, it didn’t seem logical. All the actions in Mage Knight or Twilight Imperium fit the story, which makes them quite logical, which helps understanding those games. In this one, I didn’t get it from the rulebook, so we just started playing and then it explained itself quite quickly.

The game is very interesting. It is a bit complex, and yet feels fairly light once you start playing. You have to get those nobles, but it’s wiser to balance the money and beer first, before going all out on the beer to get those nobles. I really like the game for what it is, even just the base game. I read a lot on Board Game Geek how the base game just isn’t a complete game, but I disagree. It is. The rest also works, and it doesn’t get convoluted, which I feared, like how Fresco gets convoluted story wise, but it is also a very satisfying game just with the base. It is perfect for those times when you are looking for something meatier than Yahtzee, but are not in the mood for a three hour game like Mage Knight. As for the beer, well, it could have been any theme, but there isn’t any friction between the theme or story and game mechanisms, like in Microbrew, either. So it works fairly well all in all. And to be honest: I LOVE THIS GAME! It’s just a perfect mix of complexity, deck building, drafting and overall gorgeous artwork which makes me go back and back again to the game.

Have you tried The Taverns of Thiefental yet?

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