Hansa Teutonica is a medium-weight, route building Eurogame with nearly no luck involved. It is however unlike most Eurogames quite interactive with a lot of strategic blocking and multiple routes to victory.
Appearance: Hansa Teutonica is a rather plain looking game – it uses medieval-inspired artwork for the game board and player boards and the perennial cubes. There’s nothing much to discuss in appearance – if you’ve seen one Eurogame, you’ve seen Hansa Teutonica.
Rules / Ease of Learning: Hansa Teutonica is quite an easy game to teach. Each turn, players have 4 potential actions – place a piece down on a route, move pieces on the board, clear a completed route (and acquire the city or ability and the special actions if applicable) or take income (pieces) from the bank.
How many actions a player has, the number of pieces they can take from their bank or move across the board, which offices in a city they can occupy or the number of points they will receive for their routes can all be ‘unlocked’ from their player board by completing set routes on the board. Unlocking these additional abilities provide players with additional pieces as well, so it’s quite an important aspect.
When players place a piece on the board, they may ‘bump’ an existing player out of their spot by paying an additional piece(s). The player so bumped may, at the end of the current players turn, place the bumped piece an additional piece(s) on the board on an adjacent route. In addition, when a route is cleared to occupy the city or gain a special action, all the pieces on the route are removed from the board and are returned to the player’s bank (with a piece placed on an office space if that is the chosen action).
The game ends when one of 3 events occur – a player reaches 20 victory points, 10 cities are completely filled or no additional special action tokens may be drawn.
Gameplay: Hansa Teutonica is a pretty fun game. There are a ton of different strategies available, with players able to focus on getting the special action tiles, controlling cities to get victory points, developing routes and developing their game board for maximum points / abilities. Knowing when to switch tactics based on what other players are doing is very important, as is the placement of your pieces to slow down other places and to gain the additional ‘free’ token when they bump you out.
I thoroughly enjoy the game even if I haven’t won a single game out of the 7 I’ve played now. There’s a lot of tactics and strategy involved, with almost no luck in the game (beyond what special action tokens are drawn) so it’s all a matter of adjusting to the play styles of the other players. So far, I haven’t seen an optimum strategy – even if you don’t get 3 actions immediately, you can use the time to develop routes or your board in other locations. It’s also quite easy to teach and games go faster as people play it more.
Minuses include the fact that it can lead to Analysis Paralysis – there’s a lot of options and sometimes, trying to figure out what other players are going to do can cause certain players to take a very long time for their turns. In addition, if you start falling behind, it’s really hard to catch up. Lastly, some players can get a real boost depending on who they play after as certain play styles can greatly benefit each other. As an example, a player who focuses on clearing the Action Token track might make it really easy for the next player to get into that track as well.
Conclusion: Overall, I’m a fan of Hansa Teutonica. It’s a medium-weight game that has most turns moving pretty fast, very little luck and quite a lot of strategy.