Taverns of Tiefenthal review
I managed to get Taverns to the table with a friend yesterday and enjoyed the experience and look forward to playing again soon. I played one game with the core game (no modules) and the second game with all the modules (save one).
Generally speaking I think playing with all the modules is better. It allowed for more choices and a few bonus actions. This is a deck-building game at its core with a Tavern to help augment your deck building. At the end of the game you only have to add up the VPs in your deck. I like the simplicity of that as it makes explaining the rules rather easy. There is enough complexity that it takes a playthrough to real "get" the game but one playthrough should be enough for most folks to feel comfortable and some will grasp the mechanics quite well without a full playthrough.
This could be a nice game complexity bump up from say Splendor or Catan. I'd say its about as complex as Castles of Mad King Ludwig. A couple of things I like about this deck-builder:
1. All the cards do something or can do something. I like Dominion but one critique I have is the VP cards just sit in your hand and take up space generally. The Nobles in ToT provide at least a small dice placement area and I like that they stack to take up less space in the tavern.
2. You don't generally have time for all the tavern upgrades, or at least I haven't for the first two games. The 8 rounds limit makes it tough to decide what direction you might end up wanting to go.
3. There's a good mix of steps you do simultaneously with other players and turn-order steps. Overall the game plays pretty fast and I think a full 4 player game would take about 60 minutes or less with all folks knowing the rules. Rules are likely a 10 minute or less explanation if you are efficient.
If you like Clank!, Dominion, or Mystic Vale you'll probably like Taverns. Overall I'd say its closest to a combination of Dominion and Clank! but I like it better than Clank! and maybe slightly better than dominion as I like the Tavern theme.