Author: Friedemann Friese

Publisher: QUEEN GAMES 2005

Awards: none



With the release of Finstere Flure at the SPIEL 2003 I had become a fan of Friedemann Friese's games, and with the new release of Turbo Taxi by the well-known German publisher QUEEN GAMES I was eager to see whether Friedemann actually could keep the very promising and interesting quality of his games. However, this was not the only reason why I was longing to test the game, since another quite interesting fact was that QUEEN GAMES had announced in spring 2005 that they were preparing a new series of small boxed games, and Turbo Taxi is one of the first games to be published in this new series.

The game's main objective is as easy to understand as it is unusual: the players compete to be the fastest to complete a square city-map consisting of a total of nine road-tiles by connecting two taxis (cabs) with their destinations, But let us go a bit more into detail...

At the beginning of the game each player receives an identical set of 12 road-tiles. These road tiles each show a different part of the city with roads going straight, through corners, crossroads etc. At the middle of the table a small gameboard is placed, and this square board offers space for 3 x 3 road-tiles. One of the players places two differently coloured taxis and two matching houses on the outer rim of the gameboard, and it will be the task of the players to join each taxi with the matching coloured house by placing the right road-tiles. As a final step of preparation, a further set of 12 road-tiles is mixed and a randomly drawn tile is placed on the middle space of the small gameboard.

Now the game can start with each of the players sorting out the road-tile from his own set of 12 tiles which matches the road-tile in the center of the gameboard. Each player places this road-tile in the same orientation as it is on the gameboard in front of him, and when all players have done so the real "race" begins. Now each of the players will try to build a 3 x 3 squares city-map of his own set of road-tiles, but the players will have to observe several rules while trying to do so:

Most important - of course - is the fact that each taxi must be connected by roads to the matching coloured house, but there are several more road-building obligations to which the players must comply. Thus, each road leading from a road-tile must be continued on a bordering road-tile. Furthermore, the roads only may lead off the gameboard at the places where the taxis or the destination markers are located on the outer rim, but not at any other space. Only by observing these rules a player may construct a valid city-map.

The first player who finishes his map will stop the round by announcing that he has finished. Now the other players will check his map whether it has been constructed observing all construction rules. If this should be the case, the player will receive the road-tile from the common deck as a marker for having scored a victory point and the game will continue with a new round - started by turning over the next tile from the common deck. However, if the map was not constructed in the right way the player will not receive a victory point and furthermore he will have to miss the next round of play.

The game will end once all 12 tiles from the common deck have been used in the game. The player who collects most victory points (i.e. tiles from the mixed deck) will have won the game.

At the beginning of this review I said that I was eager to see and test the new game of Friedemann Friese, and having played it I must confess that I certainly was quite taken by the game. Several years ago QUEEN GAMES had released a quite capturing speed-based cardgame called Lift Off, and the new Turbo Taxi represents a rather successful return to a kind of games where players need a fast reaction and addition to strategic thinking. Especially the fact that the game goes over twelve rounds often keeps it rather thrilling until the very last round, since rarely a player will get such a lead that he can decide the game with an early victory. The game is rather fast paced, but it has an incredibly high replay value with a "dangerous" addiction-factor.

As far as the design is concerned, QUEEN GAMES did have a good choice to make this game part of their starting programme for their new small games series. The game joins a rather unusual playing concept with a nice graphical design and cute playing pieces - all coming together for a rather reasonable price. For me, the game has left me rather hungry to test more games from this series...

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2005 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Trier, Germany