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Tigris & Euphrates
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Tigris & Euphrates

English language edition

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60-120 minutes 3-4

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): Hans im Gluck, Mayfair Games

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Product Description

Step back to the dawn of recorded time. Take command of a young dynasty in fertile Mesopotamia. Here, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, lies the cradle of civilization. Here, as the Bible tells, rose man's first cities: Ur, Nineveh, and fair Babylon.

The game of Tigris & Euphrates lets you play a part in the epic saga of the rise of these great urban centers. Your dynasty struggles to develop and control the most vibrant culture in the rich land between the two rivers. Create the best balance between markets, temples, settlements, and farms, as you and your people try to forge your own new civilization and dominate the storied valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates.

This new edition has a double-sided board.

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Deutscher Spiele Preis
1st place, 1998
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1998

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Manufacturer(s): Hans im Gluck, Mayfair Games

  • Artist(s): Stephen Graham Walsh

  • Year: 2008

  • Players: 3 - 4

  • Time: 60 - 120 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 1,607 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.4 in 42 reviews

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Excellent Strategy Game
July 06, 2004

Intense strategy game with every player able to change the gameplay at each turn. Very challenging, requiring flexible and agile playing.

Although board artwork is average you soon don't notice this once gameplay is underway.

Enjoying this game thoroughly!

Other games I have enjoyed - Settlers of Catan+expansions, El Grande, Carcassone and Elfenland.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Nothing abstract about getting whooped in a game of T&E.
June 02, 2004

Tigris and Euphrates languished on my game shelf for quite some time. Abstract games just aren't my cup of tea. Or so I thought. Then I played T&E, what a game. Definitely abstract, definitely fun.

T&E is easily the best game since Puerto Rico, granted it is older than PR, but I only recently discovered T&E. It is similar to Puerto Rico in the fact that it is a game where players gain only a couple points each turn, and games are generally quite close. Your final score is your smallest score in 4 areas of influence. So if a player is doing quite well in three areas they can lose by a large margin to a player that just plugged-along scoring only a few points but scoring evenly. It is not uncommon to have a surprise winner.

The tile laying mechanism is usually a boring mechanism as far as I am concerned. Tigris and Euphrates amps up the mechanism by providing the player with interesting tactical decisions, much more so than other tile games.

The downside of this game is the rule book. The writer of the rules assumed players would have a hard time understanding the conflict rules, so he over-explained the rules. The result has complicated the concept of conflict to the point absurdity. There are two types of conflict, those caused by placing a leader and those caused by placing a tile. It need not be any more complex than that. Unfortunately, it has been made more complicated than it needs to be.

Five enthusiastic stars but a warning: Choose your opponents well, it is a brain-burner. You might get bogged down with over-analysis.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Reiner Knizia's Best Game!
March 05, 2004

I just want to correct an error made by a couple of the reviewers below. This game did NOT lose to Mississippi Queen in the Game of the Year voting -- it lost to Elfenland in 1998. In 1997, Mississippi Queen beat out the much superior Lowenherz for the title.

That notwithstanding, this game ranks #4 on my Top 300 Game list. (Lowenherz is #3.) This is Reiner Knizia's greatest masterpiece, out of many. Any serious game collector should have a copy of this -- preferably the German version, which has much better artwork than the American version.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
One of the best!
July 09, 2003

I'm not a Knizia fanatic, but this one is great! It is one of the 'heavies,' though, so if you don't like to think, this one is not for you. As for the the general opinion that the theme is weak, I may be the only person to disagree. To me it feels just like developing civilizations with all the internal power struggles and external conflicts for territory. This may be why I love Euphrat & Tigris but don't like Amun Re, for example. Anyway, give this one a couple of tries before you pass judgement.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Excellent Game
March 13, 2003

This is my first Reiner title and I am sure my next game order will include more of his titles. This game has great pieces and just enough luck to keep it from getting stale. Its also nice to see a german game with some conflict in it. Lastly the weakest sphere mechanism is ingenious and simple. The only downside to the game is that its definitely more complicated then most games, but any gamer should have this in their collection.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Brett
This is my favorite game
September 10, 2002

I have been a serious 'gamer' for about two years now, averaging at least two games a week over that period of time. I have played numerous games that I thought were outstanding only to tire of them over time as the newness of these games wore off. However, Tigris & Euphrates is the one and only exception.

This game is beautiful in its complexity. In my opinion, it is the ultimate 'Gamer's Game.' Some may argue that it is too complex to be fun. But I instead would argue that there is a certain level of enjoyment out of playing a game that has more plot twists than the most thrilling movie.

Monuments, treasures, rivers and kingdoms in conflict are all interwoven into a fantastic game where lots of strategy and a little luck will reign victorious.

On a side note, if you enjoy Tigris & Euphrates I would highly recommend La Citt.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Greg
Top notch game but not one for the family.
August 24, 2002

After reading the manual for the first time, I immediately read it again. Then the next day I read it once more. This is not light hearted fare for the family, but that said, it should highly appeal to serious gamers. I finally just got the group together and we tried playing it. After several restarts due to missed rules, it was all finally coming together. We played often for the next month and after our 3rd or 4th game we realised what a gem we had here. There are so many different game play options available on one persons turn and so many types of strategy that generally no one gets so far behind that they are out. Its also rare to see someone get so far ahead that they can't be caught. Nothing takes the starch out of someones game more then realising that everyone but them has a chance or that the leader is so far ahead they wont be caught. I HIGHLY recommend this game!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Still My Favorite of All!
July 05, 2002

After two years, this is still my favorite game. It is always different, very compelling, and cannot be 'figured out' in any way. The number of players affects the play of the game, adding another layer of variety. Once everyone gets the difference between the two kinds of conflicts (within kingdom, it's all about power and temples; between kingdoms, it's all about supporters), play is fantastic. New people usually play through the first time, and really sink their teeth in the second round. Game play is fairly quick with astonishing depth. I expect to play this for a long time. (Note: I personally prefer the german to the english version; components are thicker.)

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Fantastic for War & Non-War Gamers Alike!
July 05, 2002

The best part of this game of world-domination is that every player gets a new army to mobilize at every turn. The unique mechanism allows all players to be actively engaged in the movement of history throughout this multi-hour game. I have played several times with non-gamers; the rules are easy to grasp and the opportunity to win is always there. Many have bought their own copy after their first play. I really enjoy this one and suggest it for anywone with a full evening ready to fill.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Dave
A Personal Favorite
May 01, 2002

Put simply, if you haven't gotten this game yet - go get it. Now. Although it's a bit abstract, T&E is a game that keeps you occupied the entire time. What hits you immediately upon opening the box is the multi-colored playing pieces and the richly illustrated game board and player screens. Even the rules look good!

T&E takes a few turns to figure out the mechanic of play, but once you understand it the game completely sucks you in and you're hooked. The scoring system is unique and forces players to perform well in all areas of game play. To win, set yourself up for a strong endgame - those who think they can win by getting ahead early are fooling themselves.

T&E is good for all kinds of gamers - both hard core and family weekend warriors alike combining strategy, luck and skill.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
It Rocks!
February 25, 2002

I have never played 'Modern Art' or 'Through The Desert'. I knew nothing of the game designer before I played this one, but have never even seen his other games. In short, I'm unbiased about the designer.

That said: This thing is amazing. I love 'Mississippi Queen', but I am now very surprised to hear it was up for GotY in Germany at the same time T&E was. T&E should have won. I don't see people playing MQ as often as Settlers, but I can easily see them playing T&E that much.

My only gripes are this (and boy are they small):

1) The Mayfair printing, while using high quality materials, seems to use low quality construction techniques. How many games do you see with wood pieces these days? Problem is, the wooden pieces werent all machined to exacting specifications. One monument needed to be glued to stay together, and one needed to be forced together so hard, it developed a stress fracture which also need to be glued.

2) The random element DOES bother me (just try to win without any red tiles!). There is a solution though. Two parts:

A) Place six tiles face up in a 'kitty'. Instead of replacing from the bag, each player has the option to take from the bag OR the face up tiles. You can't do some of each. Draw tiles to bring the kitty up to 6 before the next player's turn.

B) Use the English Variant (Can't play any more or less tiles in defense than the number exactly needed to win).

This gives you some control over your hand (at the price of the other players knowing what you took), without giving you the ability to say, 'I'll play all my tiles even though it won't help, just for the purpose of getting exactly the tiles I want, or thwarting you from doing the same'.

3) The rules don't mention the # of players needed, nor do they specify how one trades in for the larger VP cubes. Seems that trading in causes people to have to give away information unnecessarily. House rule suggestion: If there isn't a small cube available when needed, all players must trade in for large cubes of that color to the maximum extent possible.

4) The copy I received (a gift, not bought from FunAgain) came with a minorly dinged box.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
One of the best
November 07, 2001

I must start out by saying that I loved Civilization by Avalon Hill, but rarely found the time to play it.

Reiner Knizia takes the same theme in Tigris and Euphrates. The mechanics are completely different than those in Civ, but just as compelling in their own way of meshing with the theme of early civilizations expanding and coming into conflict.

I found the mechanics of T & E to be deep, subtle, and wonderfully balanced. I expect never to tire of this game. Very highly recommended.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Fred
Way too much FUN! Some suggested improvements...
May 17, 2001

I think Through the Desert and Tigris and Euphrates are just excellent games. Biggest difference off the bat is that T&E has a significant luck factor to complement all your good plans and your best attempt at bluffing when you have nothing on your hand. It's also harder to get started on it once you open the box. However it repays all your efforts with interest!

Many reviews already cover its positive aspects. Though my favourite Knizia game, I will cover some deficiencies so that you can enjoy it more:

  1. The two player game can play badly if you do something silly like start on opposite sides of the board, chess style. Eventually you'll have one big battle, and the loser won't recover. BORING. You solve this problem by ensuring you're both slugging it out in the same territory, kicking off each other's leaders' etc.
  2. You get a zillion 5 pt counters, of which you'll use about a third, and very few single markers of which you'll need many more. This forces some players to trade in single counters for fivers, which unfortunately makes their score less private than it should be. But you can always cut some wood pieces and paint them yourself.
  3. The King / Priest / Farmer / Merchant analogy is confusing to beginners and provides no value add to the game. The game has in fact nothing to do with Mesopotamia, the alluded historical setting, etc. When you introduce the game to a friend, just call them Red / Blue / Green / Black leaders and move on. This is because some beginners wonder what their (for example) Priest leader is going to do for them... and the answer is invariably nothing.
  4. You'll eventually become frustrated because you'll trip into a game when you cannot draw tiles of a colour you need. Which is a problem as your score is determined by your weakest colour. Rather than getting mad at the game like some people, try (a) making sure your opponents are themselves shut down in some colour (b) try to build a monument or initiate conflict between your opponents to radically change the map and weaken them somehow. And hey, there's always next game :-)

Now that we have those nits out of the way, the game is a blast. It's fun, exciting, and fairly tense with just 3 players. Get four players and it takes a life of its own. Enjoy!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Excellent game!
January 08, 2001

This game is not just a pleasure to play, it is beautiful to look at as well. The pieces are first rate, the production top notch, and one can almost feel kingdoms rising and falling as the game plays on.

As for the luck element, I believe it is minimal. Each player is drawing from a bag of 4 different types of land tiles, and since a hand consists of six tiles it is not long before you draw the particular tile that you need. The skill, of course, is in the optimal placement of these tiles.

T&E is a must have for all true gamers!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
E & home
January 07, 2001

This game is the hallmark of an outstanding game author and designer (Knizia). E & T's replay value is tremendous, the scoring is simple (a contrast to many of his more recent though outstanding games) and the thought-provoking nature of this game has no peer (in its realm of tile laying games).

Though a few folks gripe a bit about luck of the draw, if you wish to play a game without any chance factors, try 'Go' or 'Chess'. Neither of these games has much in the way of redeeming social value... when was the last time you had friends over for a friendly chess game? Can you laugh and 'role play' during an intense chess game? Only if you can dodge flying boards or pieces quickly!

If the luck factor in E & T is a bit too much, then merely do as our groups do... provide the 'drafting' element a la Alan Moon (I know we owe you royalties for this!)... place somewhere between 2 and 6 tiles face up (I suggest about 3) next to the drawing bag so that a player can take/trade from the face-up collection or take a random tile from the bag... this would add a measure of control but still allow for some variation in the outcomes.

Virtually no game except Go or Chess is 100% skill... I am a tournament bridge player with more than 40 years of experience and I do not win every time I play bridge! Relax... enjoy the games from Germany... many of these games have subtle strategies and if you are really as good a player as you think you are, be happy winning 60-70% of the time... otherwise, who will play with you?

Reflect on the fact that great hitters in baseball are successful only about 1/3 of the time! You can be successful more than half of the time if you play thoughtfully... and besides, my German gaming experience tells me that most of the games are fun to play even if you are not winning (can you say that about classics like Monopoly or Risk?)

Get into E & T... it will strain the brain a bit, but it is worth every moment.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Add another glowing review to the pile
January 03, 2001

There is something deeply satisfying in playing a civilization game. Whether it is the computer game Civilization or one of its many descendants, or a boardgame such as Civilization, Advanced Civilization, Settlers of Catan, or this title, there is just something appealing about watching the sprawl of a well-designed civilization spread across the land. It feels constructive, rather than destructive, as so many games are. True, each of these games involves some form of conflict, but the emphasis of each is on building and growing.

Tigris & Euphrates is probably the most unusual entry into this fray, since players do not really 'own' an empire, but insinuate their leaders into cultures and try to gain points by furthering the culture. It is possible that all players can peacefully co-exist in one nation, at least for a while.

There have been complaints that some people just find this game too abstract, but all games tend to be abstractions to one degree or another, and there was never any claim that T&E was intended as a simulation. Instead, it is a carefully crafted strategy game that rewards players for the ability to think 'outside of the box.'

If you give yourself over to the play of this game, you can feel the sweep of history, as nations grow, prosper, and come into contact with other civilizations. The clever player will find a way of profiting from these actions.

I am a compulsive list-maker, and one of my favorites activities is to juggle the entries on my Favorite Games list. Tigris and Euphrates went onto the list after its first play, and I don't think there is any chance of it ever being dislodged. As the saying goes, it's that damned good.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Elyah
A gut-wrenching, brain draining classic
December 10, 2000

This is my all-time favorite game. Why?

  1. Gut-wrenching decisions. Every turn requires gut-wrenching decisions from the very first to the last turn. This is one of the few games in which I feel constantly involved and mentally drained when finished. I like that in a game. I feel that every turn is the 'critical' turn.
  2. Strategy. I love strategy games and this one is at the top of the mountain in that category.
  3. Great Components. I have no other game with bits as unique as E & T.
  4. Ease of Play. Although a few of the rules are a bit tricky at first, after understanding how they work, the game is a breeze to play: do two of four things, replenish your hand.
  5. Brain-busting & Deeply Satisfying. This game will leave you drained! Winning gives a great sense of accomplishment. It's not like winning a hand of Uno or Skip-Bo! Who cares who wins at Chrononauts? It's mainly luck. But this game is different. You feel like a chess champion must feel when he wins. You have honestly conquered, outmaneuvered, and out-planned your opponents!
  6. Replay Value. I want to play it again as soon as I finish. I want to talk about all the moves and decisions that were made during the game. Other games are not like that. This one stimulates my mind and gets my competitive juices flowing as no other.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Why aren't you buying this game?
August 27, 2000

Tigris & Euphrates is, in my opinion, the best game ever invented. And that's not just a bizarre personal slant: most people I know who've played it agree it's one of the top games of all time. So, it puzzles me that it was in the top 5 in Funagain daily sales for only a short period before dropping off the top 25 completely.

Perhaps you aren't buying this game because you think the German version (Euphrat & Tigris) is better. However, this is not the case, in my opinion. The wooden pieces are identical to those of the German version. The new tiles are nicer: they're rendered with finer detail, they're easier to tell apart, and they make it clearer what tiles are connected to each other. The board is either better or worse, depending on tastes--it's a lot more detailed. And, for those who, like me, figure it's a lot easier to get new players to play something that doesn't have a lot of German words on it, the screens are now entirely in English.

So, buy this game! It should be #1 for weeks on end!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Just do it.
May 01, 2000

Euphrat and Tigris is like any work of art that is uncompromising, determined, confident and unconcerned with mass-marketeering. It may seem unapproachable at first, but will soon become your 'favourite of all time' (until your next favourite of all time.)

It's truly a special game. Like many of Knizia's games, the first game--with rule learning--takes forever, and the second game takes an hour or less. Once you get the hang of it, it moves so fast you're doing your next move before you've gloated over your last. The 'balanced civilization' system means that you always sort of know what you need to do, you always sort of know who's where, but somehow you never at all know who's going to win. It's an incredibly clever system and makes for a whole new way of thinking, even for serious Gemanophiles and KniziaHeads.

Another great thing about this one is that there's no clear way to win amongst equals because everyone truly has the same chance. No spot on the board is better than another because movement is amzingly free (and can truly surprise and terrify your opponents.) Your huge empire can be stolen in a second. But that's okay. You can steal it back the very next turn with a little forward-thinking and some hard guts.

The more you play this game the more ferocious the battles become and the more the opportunites spread out. Rather than a puzzle to be figured out, it's a galaxy to be expored. This might have more playability, ultimately, than Settlers and El Grande combined.

If you love the German games, if you love Reiner, if you love a good time, you gotta get this one. It's on the more expensive side--and a total bargain.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Mike
Simply the Best!!
December 05, 1999

After looking at the 70+ games in my current game library, one of my good friends looked at me and wanted to know which my favorite game of the group is. After a moment, I had to answer 'Tigris and Euphrates'.

The reasons are numerous... most of which have been eloquently made already and I'll echo here.

  1. Components... I can think of no other game I own that so distinctly demonstrates the superior craftsmanship typical to 'German' boardgames. The tiles are on thick cardboard and heavily laminated. The gane board is THICK. Everything in this game is so appealing, from the artwork, to the custom wood game pieces.

    The best analogy is the difference between plastic chess men and weighted wooden men. After you play with the weighted, you can never go back...

  2. Theme... The building of a balanced civilization has been used in many games. Somehow, with Tigris, I can visualize the splendor of monuments being built, votes being cast and wars ripping a society apart.

    Things can be peaceful until one troublemaker comes along and makes life difficult!

  3. Choices, Choices, Choices... In Tigris, there are so many things that can happen. A tile placed at the wrong time... what if I built that monument one turn ealier? The list goes on and on.
  4. Game System... As stated elsewhere, the rulestake some getting use to (have someone teach you if you can The results is some of the most satisfying game play that I have ever experienced at any time. The suspense at the game end is unbelievable!

    I could keep listing the virtues of Tigris and Euphrates forever. Just take my word for it, this game is Simply the Best!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Lloyd
Looks good, plays well, will last well.
November 14, 1999

I bought this game on trust. I'm glad I did.

It is possible to tell a newcomer to this game all the rules, before the start. There are not very many rules, and they are simple enough. The rule book is, as rule books go, unambiguous. This is a good start.

A newcomer, though, might be confused by how he should play the game. Most of us are familiar with games in which a player occupies territory, defends it, and tries to acquire more. Also, many gamers will be familiar with games where players try to dominate some aspect of the play, such as in a WW2 wargame achieving air-power dominance or the like. In Euphrat und Tigris, however, such experience may prove to be a hindrance.

Players do not 'own' their kingdoms, they merely have members of their dynasty who control some aspect of the running of a kingdom. Consequently, a player may decide that it is not worth trying to gain control over the markets and trade in his kingdom, and may let a leader from a rival dynasty set up shop in his kingdom. Similarly, a player may build up a huge kingdom, and then abandon it entirely, and try to gain control over some aspect of another's kingdoms. This can take some getting used to, and it means that players can invent all sort of strategies which they would never use in other games.

The game is abstract, as ultimately all games are. The board needn't represent Mesopotamia, but could be viewed instead as a grid of squares, with two lines on which only one type of tile may be laid (farming tiles need irrigation, and so need access to one of the two rivers), but the setting is a good choice, as it is a time so long ago that much of our knowledge is vague, and so actual history will not interfere too much with players' expectations. One could say, judging from the symbols, that the dynasties are Persians, Hittites, Babylonians and Assyrians, but these peoples are never mentioned in the rules, and one could just see these as arbitrary symbols to differentiate the players.

The game claims to be playable in ninety minutes. I'd say that this is wildly optimistic, and would allow a fair bit more time than that for a completed game.

As a two-player game, it works well. There is a lot of space on the board in which each player might build kingdoms, and so many options. Much like Settlers of Catan, an early decision is whether to have one grand contiguous kingdom, or whether to have a few scattered kingdoms, any one of which might flourish, or be a hindrance to rivals. As a three or four player game, the nature changes a bit, as the board is more crowded, clashes between kingdoms harder to avoid, and a new type of strategy is possible: start a war between two of your rivals, and sit back and watch them fight it out. Be warned, though: the winner of such a war will become stronger.

The complexity of the game is just about right: players will have to think about what to do, but will not have to concentrate on any one turn so much that they spend ages taking their turn. Turns pass fairly quickly, and a conflict will involve other players.

The game components are nicely finished. The inside of the box has a lining with a printed design - a nice touch. The tiles are printed on VERY thick card, and come with a black cloth drawstring bag. The screens for hiding one's tiles are a bit flimsy, and they have a rules summary on them which is only useful to those who read German, but otherwise the physical aspects of the game are very good.

Looks good, plays well, will last well.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Wow! I am impressed!
September 10, 1999

What a game! I love it!

The game took us forever to figure out (2+ hours, including first game), but it was worth it!

You must build evenly and ever so wisely... or you're toast! There are a lot of elements and strategies to consider to get you to the top and just as many to keep you there. But, if you do get behind, don't give up... if planned just right, you just might change the game in one good move!

I recommend Euphrat & Tigris to the gamer who's ready for his/her next BIG GAME! It you enjoy Acquire, Settlers, Tikal, and other like games--try this one!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
July 17, 1999

Euphrat & Tigris is a fascinating and absorbing game where players try to create the most balanced empire. Unlike most games, each player plays all colours and most elements on the board do not belong to anyone (except perhaps whoever happens to be near them at the time).

The game's mechanics are fairly simple for the most part - even the conflicts are easy enough to carry out after a game or two - and the scoring has been finely tuned to ensure that games end closely. Games are rarely one-sided in Euphrat & Tigris since all players have to collect all four colours well to win. It is a satisfying two-player game but works better with three or four.

The board and pieces are beautiful and highly detailed; definitely a feast for the eyes. The game comes with English rules which are well-presented and comprehensible. The only German is an overview of turns and conflicts on the players' shield cards, not necessary once you know the rules. Euphrat & Tigris takes a little more effort than the average game to learn, but it is very rewarding in the long run. I highly recommend it.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Wonderful strategic game
June 16, 1999

A wonderful stragetic game with many variations and elements to think about, it makes every game interesting and intriguing. The rules are a little complicated to learn, but once you have them it turns into a fantastic game of strategy.

There are three main methods of getting points: monoliths, placing tiles and attacking leaders. The twist to the game is you need the most number of points in your smallest area--this makes life much more exciting as you cannot get a stronghold in one colour and stay there for the entire game. You need to go out and build constructions to win points off other players. The structure of the whole game encourages competition and dealing with other players--the person who sits on the side and does nothing rarely wins.

My favourite game at the moment.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Great Game, But Has Everything Against it!
January 16, 1999

Great games like this are first rejected by the experts and then given little press. Yet these games, such as Monopoly and Scrabble, soon become classics. This game missed out as Germany's game of the year in favor of Mississippi Queen and Games Magazine gave its award to Fossil. Now both Fossil and Mississippi Queen are great games, but this is one of the best designed and most playable games ever. While I feel one of this designer's other games, Modern Art, was too heady and would turn off casual gamers, this has both color and depth.

If there is a drawback to this game it is a bit too complicated for the 'beer and pretzel' crowd and much too simple for the Simulation gamer who is lost without hexes and a 32 page rulebook. Any gamer looking for a must addition to their collection should look no further. I would rate it as one of the best games of all time, and I don't use that phrase lightly! If I may be allowed to break the rules: ****** I give it six stars!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
A remarkable game from a remarkable designer...
December 22, 1998

The premise of Reiner Knizia's EUPHRAT & TIGRIS is simple enough--create an ancient kingdom on an unspoiled landscape, collect a few treasures, and march into the pages of history. Well, it's easier said than done! Competing kingdoms will encroach into your territories, implore the gods to bring catastrophes upon you, and send their own leaders to usurp your monuments. Only the strong will survive.

The amount of strategic depth that this game conveys is amazing. It is not nearly as intuitive as its cousins SAMURAI and DURCH DIE WUSTE, but the extra effort that the game requires is returned a hundred fold in gaming satisfaction.

Placing tiles representing 4 basic categories (trade, religion, etc.) to score VP's, players try to build a dynamic empire, always keeping an eye out for opportunities to intrude into foreign lands. When challenges do occur, tense moments arise before it is learned whether the defender can match the attacker's strength. With hidden tiles, treasures acting as 'wild cards' for scoring, and concealed victory points, plenty of surprises abound.

An interesting twist to the end game is that victory is awarded to the player who has the best total in the lowest of the 4 scoring categories. Outscore your enemies by a large margin in one area, but neglect another vital asset, and you're likely to suffer defeat. A balanced ledger is a must if a chance at victory is desired.

A lot of accolades have already been awarded to EUPHRAT & TIGRIS, and deservedly so. It is a truly beautiful product. I'm not going to be shy here; E&T is the best game that I've seen--German or otherwise--this past year. An easy 5's that good!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
If you like a challenge...
December 12, 1998

This is one of the most difficult yet engrossing board games I've learned in a long time. Players place tiles on the board, forming continguous groups ('kingdoms') which may be merged by a linking tile or split by demolition. There are four colors of tiles, essentially equal but with different properties. Only one player at a time can reap the profit of each color in each kingdom, and to win, it is necessary to score well in all four colors. This leads to constant power struggles all over the board. While the materials in attack and counterattack are simple, there are several ways to deploy them effectively, and choosing the best line is a matter of considerable subtlety. A fine judgment of timing and contingencies is essential, and you can't just play it safe -- sometimes you've got to have the nerve to mount a challenge even when you're not sure you'll win the battle. Tigris is a tough, deep game, and I like it a lot.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Ekted
Reply to people who say E&T has no theme
June 19, 2004

Game immersion is what you make of it. All games can be reduced to simple (or complex) math. Remove all names, places, and pretty pictures. What makes the immersion work is when the strategies and tactics involved in the play relate somehow to the theme, so you can picture the situations really happening and make intuitive judgements.

Granted, E&T could be called Terraform 3000, and use robots with laser beams. Picking a place and time for your game to exist in, and making the pieces and the actions fit that idea is part of the fun. E&T does it well.

Let's break down some other favorites:

Risk: Move your dots from box to box that are connected by lines. When 2 different groups of dots meet, roll dice to determine which dots get removed.

Puerto Rico: Create dots by forming pairs of boxes with triangles on them. Place dots onto limited grids to increase your final score.

Monopoly: Move your dot randomly along a 40 element grid. Acquire triangles or lose triangles as indicated on the grid space. Try to force all other players to lose all their triangles by accumulating the most boxes.

See what I mean?

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
A very interesting game and fun too
February 22, 2004

I have played this game online and enjoyed it the one time that I played. A easy to understand game that adds the fun element of having a 'screen' to hide your tiles and an interesting end of the game scoring method. Reminds me a little of chess. I look forward to buying the real version sometime soon!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
GREAT on mechanics, HORRIBLE on theme
October 24, 2002

The theme is totally irrelevant and pasted on. Can't we make a law that bans giving completely misleading titles to games? Typical Knizia--totally abstract & dry, but very strong system. I despise this game personally but have to respect the depth and begrudingly admit it's a good fit for other gamers. But it should just be called Red Blue Green Black. There is no feel of any conflict or civilization or building or expanding or progress or ANYTHING whatsoever. Also, there IS a fair chunk of luck involved depending on what tiles you draw, but the bone dry nature of it was my biggest problem. Basically, if theme is important AT ALL to you do NOT play this, you'll hate it. But if you like unique and balanced mechanics and don't mind the totally abstract and mathematical, this could be for you.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Almost There...
September 28, 2001

This is my first purchase of the many games Mr. Knizia has produced. I gotta say, I had to read the instructions three times over before I felt confident that I understood all aspects of this game.

I'm not saying that was bad. I knew what I was getting into. I don't take my game buying lightly. Before purchasing, I try to get as much info on the game I'm interested in. People said this was a heavy game.

My first game I played of Tigris was two-player. Let me say right now, Tigris is NOT a two player game. The real strategies come into their own when many opponents are on the board--many more options are available to you on a turn.

I'm gonna keep this short and say, after playing a three-player game, I loved it. My only dislike was the lack of player interaction. That's what it lacks compared with games such as Settlers. There's no need to interact much with other players. Which is a pity, otherwise it could well have gotten 5 stars. I think the theme works well, and this being the first tile laying game I've purchased, all others will be judged by Tigris. Watch out!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
High strategy for multiple players
August 05, 2001

I'll be frank--this is not an easy game to appreciate. The rules are kind of hard to grasp (until you play it once or twice), the theme is a little abstract (see previous reviews), and, if you're playing with a slow player, the game can take 2+ hours.

All of that being said, this is an excellent game of pure strategy and skill. The play balance is awesome, and once people 'get' the game, they love it.

I would recommend that games have 3 or 4 players, though--the 2 player game seems far less interesting.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
clever game
April 18, 2001

If you like thoughtful tile-laying games this one's for you. The theme is misleading, it's got no history, it's just a pure abstract game, and a good one. Card counters will have a big edge as they can keep track of everyone's scores. A variant is to keep the scores in the open. Or randomly give each person several blocks so no one will know precisely what anyone else has.

If you're interested in ancient history this game has nothing to do with that, so don't expect it.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Fascinating strategy game!
August 22, 1999

I'll admit that it took me a while to warm up to this game. I kept wanting to like it, but while playing, I never felt like I had a good sense of how well I was doing or what the best strategy was. However, I continued to play whenever I could talk my friends into a game, and after playing about five times, I started to get a feel for it. After playing 10 times, I started to feel that this is a really great game.

Because winning requires accumulating points in four different areas, it's entirely possible for someone who appears to be extremely successful in the game to lose. Success in the game requires the ability to constantly re-evaluate what one actually needs, and to abandon strategies and board positions that do not aid in meeting those needs. The cold-hearted willingness to attack and destroy the civilizations others have built is also a major asset.

There's a lot going on in this game, and it does take a while to really get the hang of it. But I'd definitely recommend it for anyone who likes strategy and civilization-building games and hankers after something a bit more subtle and complex than Settlers of Catan.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Complicated to learn, but worth the effort
February 02, 1999

This game is ostensibly about building kingdoms at a time of ancient civilizations. Each player tries to obtain a balance between settlements, temples, farms, and markets. You receive Victory Points for how well you do each of these. At the end of the game, the player with the most Victory Points in their WORST area wins the game!

I say 'ostensibly' because the game mechanics are quite a bit more abstract than a 'civilization' scenario.

This game took me about 15 minutes to explain to our casual quartet, and about 1/2 hour of play before everyone really started 'getting' it. Most complex are the two scenarios for conflict:

  1. You place a leader into a kingdom in which someone else already has a leader, and;

  2. Your kingdom (deliberately or accidently) 'bumps' up against another kingdom, resulting in too many leaders.

Once you can sort through these two scenarios, the game becomes an entertaining time of strategy, interaction, and plotting.

(If it helps anyone, I've made up a Word file that distills the main rules onto a single page.)

This game is RICH in strategy. You can do every extreme from trying to build in isolation ('please leave me alone') to constantly trying to conquer/undo your opponents' kingdoms.

Trying to foresee the result of conflict is like trying to think 5 moves ahead in chess. For our casual quartet, however, we just let the conflicts happen and then laugh (or cry) about how they turn out.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Abstract Empires
June 27, 2001

Abstract Empires. At least, that's what I would have named this game. Some have stated that this game is chess-like. They are right. This game is a game of high strategy, not too much luck, many compicated rules (at least, compared to most German games), and most tellingly, it is a game of Renier Knizia. (Some of you are now drooling, others are gagging...)

For those of you who know little of 'German' games, Renier Knizia tends to elicit a lot of emotion from the gaming community. You either like his stuff a lot, or dislike it a lot. I am one of the only people I know who actually can't make up his mind. I love [page scan/se=0630/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Through The Desert and think it is one of the best games ever made--but it is abstract (usually I dislike abstract) and it is mathematical; in short, it's Knizia. But it's one of only a few games of Knizia's that enjoys widespread admiration. [page scan/se=0874/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Tigris & Euprates is not going to fall into that category. I know exactly why a lot of people give this game 5 stars--for those who like Knizia, this game is probably his best. And I am not even going to say that I dislike it, because when I play (and yes, I do play from time to time) I find myself doing my utmost to win. My problem with this game is that it isn't all that much fun. That is the problem I have with most Knizia games. Mathematically, I know they are brilliant, but they aren't much fun. I think Bruno Faidutti hit the nail on the head when he said that '[Knizia's] games lack something of a soul.'

This is not one for families. This game is so complicated I had to read the rules all the way through the SECOND time I played it (and I usually assimilate rules very quickly). But hardcore gamers might like it, and Knizia fans certainly will. (They -will-? I must have meant to say they -do-, since every self-respecting Knizia fan already owns this game!) =)

p.s. Continuing in my fine tradition of slamming Mayfair production quality whenever deserved, I have to say that, once again, Mayfair produced a very shoddy game. I have seen screen shots of the German version and it has much cleaner graphics that are easier to distinguish. The Mayfair art is bland and tends to blur together too much. Note to Mayfair: Why don't you just use the original and superior German art instead of going to all the trouble of making your own in-house art which never looks as nice? Rio Grande's success is based largely on their approach to publishing 'as-is'!

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
I prefer Samurai and Through the Desert...
January 04, 2001

I might as well post a counterpoint to all the praise reviews of the game.

I prefer Knizia's Samurai and Through the Desert over Euphrat and Tigris. It is a fine game, but for my tastes, the game is dependent upon the tiles you draw. Due to the scoring mechanism, although it is clever, and play mechanics, it results in a person needing to draw an abundance of one color tile (red), plus an even mix of the other tiles.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Good fun game, but balance of power moves quickly
November 14, 1999

I really like this game, enough to give it four stars. However, no one else in my gaming group likes it. (And although I won a lot, I didn't win every time :) So it can only get 3.5 stars, which can only be represented by 3 stars.

Since others have expounded upon this game's great strengths, I will hit on some of its weaknesses:

The takeover rules are confusing for the beginning player, and take a little while to learn. Perhaps confusing is not the correct term... arbitrary may be more apt.

When takeovers start happening, rapidly people start gaining massive points in various categories with a large element of luck. (Depending largely on what the person in front of you just did, normally having nothing to do with their strategy at all). Since a competitive bid between two leaders results in destruction of that tile type (and corresponding chits for the winner) huge amounts of chits are won and lost. Why did I bother collecting them piecemeal when I can get the motherload with a lucky break? I think this is what discourages my buds from playing--this element of luck takes away their sense of control.

It is fun to sneak a leader in on someone else while they attempt to gain chits off monuments. It is also fun to blow away people with disaster tiles and ruin their monument prospects with well-placed loser tiles. This of course may also contribute to my groups lack of interest in playing....

I like this game a lot, but feel that the disadvantages keep it from five stars. If you want a building game, go for Settlers of Catan first, which is a solid 5 stars. If you already have Settlers, then take a peek at this and you will have some fun times.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Too complicated, low-speed, low drag.
January 30, 2006
I was honestly hoping this game was going to live up to the hype that I've read from constant reviews such as board game geek and Tom Vassel's review etc.

When it first arrived I opened it up, cranked out all the tiles, sorted, bagged etc. I looked over the rules and I was totally confused for a good part of half an hour. I honestly gave up for about a week at trying to understand the rules and when I found time and broke down in boredom, I pulled it out again. I looked over the rules, it still looked strange to me, pulled out the board, set it up, and was still confused. I went online and played the game using a Java program, got the rules and I was not amazed by the game whats so ever.

If you like slow games, maybe chess (but 10 times longer), etc. you might like this game, but overall, I found it to be slow, and pretty bland, it never left a high point for me during the times that I did play it, and games that don't have climatic moments are pretty umm.. dull.

- L.T.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by Jeff D
I wish I liked this game
April 21, 2003

This game has many of the elements that I like in a game but for some reason it just doesn't do it for me.

I have played a couple of times but it was some of the most dull and tedious game playing I have ever sat through- unless some one would ask me to play a robust game of Uno.

Maybe if I revisit this game it will click with me but for now I will just pass this game by.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
by A Gamer
June 28, 2001

I'm a big Knizia fan. I don't agree with a previous reviewer; Knizia's games got soul. But this one doesn't.

His most expensive is also one of his crummiest. Yeah there's strategy, but guess what? [page scan/se=0040/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]El Grande and [page scan/se=0042/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Modern Art and all the gamer-oriented German games have boatloads of strategy, too. The thing is, those games are fun. Tigris & Euphrates was very boring to me and my game group.

I can't quite put it into words, but I'll try. There's no variety in the game. You just drop tiles turn after turn after turn. There are no special rounds or turn sections or any break from the monotony.

There's not a lot of player interaction. A lot of the time, players are just building up seperately. When there are conflicts, they are frustratingly inconsequential and anticlimactic. This is a game that is won through a series of piddling, little, point-grubbing moves. Maybe this appeals to some, but I found it tedious and undramatic.

The game is rarely close. It's not that leaders can exponentially amass position. The point scoring is very slow and methodical. It's just that it's very hard to catch up with someone who has a significant lead over you. They can match you tile for tile, and if you try anything fancy, a catastrophe tile or two will bungle your plans long enough for the game to end well before you can come close to clawing your way back in.

Also, I must slam the job Mayfair did on the art. Those Neanderthals need to figure out how to keep the original German Art rather than slapping on their own offensive, headache-inducing art.

Buy Taj Mahal.

Skip this.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Most over-rated game ever
October 10, 2002

This was by far the biggest waste of time for our gaming group. I do not understand how this gets the reviews that it does. Way to complicated for the payoff at the end. Also, the game doesn't give you a feel for the ancient world (as the theme seems tacked on).

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

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