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  • Flashback Friday - Tigris & Euphrates - Love It or Hate It" Do You Still Play It?

Flashback Friday - Tigris & Euphrates - Love It or Hate It" Do You Still Play It?

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Tigris & Euphrates

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There Will Be Games

Considered by many to be Reiner Knizia's masterpiece, Tigris & Euphrates is a " tactically rich, intense strategy game with lots of conflict (unusual in a German game)."  Originally published in 1997 by Hans im Glück, it has been now been in print for over 20 years. Does that make it a classic?

However, many are now saying that the recently released Yellow & Yangtze surpasses Tigris & Euphrates.

What do you think? Is Yellow & Yangtze or Tigris & Euphrates the better game? Do you one, or both or neither? 

There Will Be Games Tigris & Euphrates

Tigris & Euphrates
Shellie "ubarose" Rose  (She/Her)
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Plays boardgames. Drinks bourbon. Writes code.

Articles by Shellie

Tigris & Euphrates
Shellie "ubarose" Rose
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Articles by Shellie

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Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #293234 01 Mar 2019 04:02
T&E is a game I admire more than I enjoy. You can't look at it and not be amazed by its creativity and depth but boy does it feels like hard work to play. That doesn't make it any the less of a classic though.

I prefer Y&Y simply because it is a bit more forgiving. Not in the sense that it's less deep, but because it doesn't punish weak play quite so much. It also has slightly more of a social element you can game if you're not so hot on the abstract strategy.

Those things in no way make it "better" though. It has less epic moments than T&E. It's more an even keel: you pays your money and you takes your choice.
mc's Avatar
mc replied the topic: #293235 01 Mar 2019 04:45

Matt Thrower wrote: T&E is a game I admire more than I enjoy. You can't look at it and not be amazed by its creativity and depth but boy does it feels like hard work to play.


Yeah, this is close to how I feel.

I'm only relatively recent to it. "Back in the day" i was not doing the boardgame thing so I haven't spent heaps of time with it.

The first time I had it laid out in front of me, I'd read the rules, and understood them, but I hadn't seen the game. It only took a couple of minutes to really grasp the whole thing though. Not to understand how and when to do what, and play well, but just to see how much play there is with this thing, and that it wasn't going to get old, and how much genius it all is - so simple, but so much put on the players.

I've played it a bit since and that holds up, but because it's so mean and tense, it's not the kind of thing that comes out all the time.

Really like the theme as well. There's a pretty strong thesis in there about early civilisations that is an interesting take, especially when compared to the bog standard tech tree thing.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #293239 01 Mar 2019 08:23
One of the ultimate games. I have not been without a copy of this game since it’s first release, back when I bought an import copy from Funagain Games.

It’s up there with Dune as being an excellent example of how mechanics and gameplay concepts can express themes (as opposed to just representing a setting). Like MC said, there is a thesis here about the emergence, development, expansion, and decline of civilizations. The way each civilization interacts with others, the way squares become points of conflict and how there are four vectors of change with slightly different but illuminating parameters is just brilliant. It iterates on Acquire’s notion of business expansion and consumption to tell a very vivid, compelling civilization narrative in an incredibly concise way. It’s a game where a single catastrophe tile is more impactful than a deck of action cards or assigning a special faction power to each player.

Not a single word of flavor text. Barely any pictures. Yet it is more thematic than virtually any game featuring a box full of bubblegum machine figures and piles of cards.

A true timeless masterpiece in every way, and yes I still play it and now it’s coming out on Sunday.
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #293240 01 Mar 2019 08:40
I just recently traded a couple games away for a copy of the old Mayfair ed. of T&E. My excitement could not, and cannot, be contained.

The Knizia tile laying games are just some of the best things out there. Probably always will be. I give a slight edge to Samurai just because it's so much more accessible to new players, but T&E is a goddamned masterpiece. The violent upheavals, the catastrophes, the Knizia scoring taken to such an extreme, everything about it is fantastic.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #293243 01 Mar 2019 09:30
T&E is a forever classic. Everything about it works great. It's really a shame that it's only represented at the moment but a hideously garish FFG version with a bunch of plastic bullshit.

I like Y&Y a lot. I can't really say one is better than the other because they're both using a similar system but doing different things with it, which is why Y&Y works so well. T&E is about large scale, long-term empires rising and falling. Y&Y is looking at local powers in a much shorter timeline. The conflicts aren't as far-reaching and world changing as in T&E, but they're still important. It's a companion game more than a sequel.

Both seem to have been ignored by the current audience in favor of more-is-more behemoths or we-can-play-20-of-them-in-one-session light games.
Colorcrayons's Avatar
Colorcrayons replied the topic: #293248 01 Mar 2019 10:30
I have never been able to find an opponent to play it with me.

Early on in my boardgame obsession, Knizia was king in my collection. But his rules are so unintuitive to noobs. I feel and sound like an idiot, but just reading the rules to List Cities and trying to figure out the scoring without outside help took more time to figure out than I care to admit.

The same was true of T&E for my former spouse and I. It was hard as hell to find for me in 2008, and when I finially did, it ended back on the sale pile. Though Samurai wasn't a problem, nor the circular logic in scoring Gimmler's Aton.

So to this day, I admire it from afar, wishing I could play it with someone who would teach it and be a regular opponent.
GorillaGrody's Avatar
GorillaGrody replied the topic: #293249 01 Mar 2019 10:38
I have never seen a better game more of my friends absolutely refuse to play.

From a pure design perspective, this would be the last game to leave my collection. From the perspective of people actually grabbing a fistful of suddenly obsoleted tiles and then throwing them across the room in frustration (this happened), and then refusing ever to play again, yeah. Likewise I consider irredeemable the oldheads in my other gaming groups that just want to play the new Feld or Lacerda. Ugh. I sold my copy of T&E recently, the Mayfair edition, instantly regretted it, turned around, bought Y&Y, and set it on my shelf. It has gone completely unplayed. My friends are fired.
Gregarius's Avatar
Gregarius replied the topic: #293251 01 Mar 2019 10:47
A classic that I will never tire of. As someone above wrote, this will be the last game to leave my collection.

I love the epic swings. I love the randomness of the tile draws. I love that a winning strategy with one group of players may destroy you with a different group. I love that you are never really sure who is winning until the scores are finally revealed.

Settlers of Catan may have been what brought me into this hobby, but T&E made me an addict.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #293252 01 Mar 2019 10:48
The weirdest thing is the utter disparity in enthusiasm for Knizia stuff. My girlfriend is a Eurogamer, full stop. She'll play other stuff, typically to humor me, but she likes Eurogames. She doesn't like T&E and she doesn't like Knizia's all-time, best-ever two-player, Blue Moon. I don't get it. How can you like games like Imhotep or Settlers and not like T&E? It just baffles me.
GorillaGrody's Avatar
GorillaGrody replied the topic: #293253 01 Mar 2019 10:59
I have a theory that many games fall roughly into the collective and abstract (like Chess, where everyone has the same pieces), or into the acquisitive and thematic (oh, all sorts of stuff, from badly themed stuff like Dominion to fully themed stuff like miniatures games, where the point is, this is mine and this and this and this). T &E is a weird game that fits neither category, which is what makes it both brilliant and frustrating.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #293255 01 Mar 2019 11:47
I have 0 internal, self generated interest in this game but so many of you with extremely different opinions of games have such relentlessly good things to say... it put it on my radar.
groth's Avatar
groth replied the topic: #293257 01 Mar 2019 12:15
Does the "score at the end of the game only for your WEAKEST of the 4 categories" make this game what it is?

If the game was originally made that all 4 categories counted at end of the game- so you would count ALL the categories (like so many modern euros do), would that make for a lesser game?

I don't think any other game designers ever used this way of scoring at the end of the game, it sounds very innovative.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #293258 01 Mar 2019 12:19
I could never wrap my head around T&E. It was too abstract, and too un-intuitive for me. I found it difficult to keep internal and external conflict straight in my mind. I identify with the player mentioned above who got so frustrated that they threw the tiles across the room. Although I never did such a thing, I certainly understand the impulse to do it. It short, the game made me feel stupid. So it was traded away long ago.

I've been told Y&Y is easier to grasp, so
Not Sure's Avatar
Not Sure replied the topic: #293259 01 Mar 2019 12:31

ubarose wrote: I could never wrap my head around T&E. It was too abstract, and too un-intuitive for me. I found it difficult to keep internal and external conflict straight in my mind. I identify with the player mentioned above who got so frustrated that they threw the tiles across the room. Although I never did such a thing, I certainly understand the impulse to do it. It short, the game made me feel stupid. So it was traded away long ago.

I've been told Y&Y is easier to grasp, so


That copy you traded away is on my shelf (really). It doesn't get played as much as I'd like to (but not alone in that issue), but it's a permanent fixture as one of the unique classics of boardgaming. I'd play it just about anytime, but it's a hard sell to people that grew up in the hobby on point salad and personal spreadsheet playmats.
NeonPeon's Avatar
NeonPeon replied the topic: #293261 01 Mar 2019 13:26
T&E is an all-time favorite - always tense and exciting. I need to introduce my son to it one of these days...
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #293262 01 Mar 2019 13:40
The internal versus external conflict thing is GEEEEEEEENIUS.

An internal conflict represents the rise of a leader, faction or idea external to the status quo or tradition that disrupts the governing body, the red tiles represent cultural, religious, or social support for it. It’s a little hard to parse until you realize what is going on thematically. You don’t lose your kingdom, you lose a facet of it. The latest rules call it a “revolt” instead of “internal conflict”, which I think undermines that it is not necessarily supposed to represent a violent upheaval.

The external conflicts are challenges for resources, territory, and hegemony. You have to be strongest in an area to win it and if you do it can wind up fragmenting a kingdom. This is a way to demonstrate the more dramatic effects of empires clashing against each other, absorbing each other, and claiming dominion over each other. The latest rules call it “war” but three again that’s dumb. Especially when you go to “war” over the Farmer.

But he thing about calling those “revolt” and “war” is that it makes more immediate sense to the rules reader. I remember reading the translated rules and being like “do what now”.

Lego has the best description of what makes Y&Y different I have seen yet.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #293271 01 Mar 2019 15:16
This is one of my favorite games that i just cant get people to play. but i'll never get rid of it.
Dr. Mabuse's Avatar
Dr. Mabuse replied the topic: #293354 03 Mar 2019 15:53
This was one of the first Euro games I ever played and I was mentally fried at the end of the game. I had no idea what I was doing nor what one was supposed to do in the game. So flummoxed was I, that a few months later I bought a copy of the thing to figure it out. It was one of the best game purchases I have ever made. I love this game for reasons stated above. My game group LOVES this game, so I am fortunate in that respect.

This is also the only game I play on my phone (if TITAN had phone app, I would play the crap outta that too).
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #293365 04 Mar 2019 00:00
Definitely one of my five favorite games. It's also in a two-horse race with Ra for my favorite Knizia design. Just sublime, and I still play it whenever I have the chance.

Someone mentioned how there seem to be lots of Euro fans who aren't into Knizia. Part of that is because Knizia plays more with the language of classic board games that we grow up playing. He doesn't do many management or efficiency-style games. Rather his stuff embraces luck and player interaction in such a way that makes a lot of Euro players kind of uncomfortable. That's why some of his games have fallen off in the general consciousness I think.

I need to get this one played. It's been way too long.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #293406 05 Mar 2019 04:58
Anyone familiar with the T&E card game? Worth grabbing a cheap secondhand copy?
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #293407 05 Mar 2019 08:45

Ah_Pook wrote: Anyone familiar with the T&E card game? Worth grabbing a cheap secondhand copy?


I played it once, ages ago, and my feeling then was that there's no reason to play it instead of the board game, as the board game is much better and the card game takes up more space.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #293413 05 Mar 2019 10:18
Quick Yellow and Yangtze question for anyone who has played it. What do you think about the action to discard up to 6 tiles. An first-play, seemed like this would be a "rush to end the game, I'm currently winning" mechanism. Especially if you can do it twice in one turn.
Ah_Pook's Avatar
Ah_Pook replied the topic: #293415 05 Mar 2019 10:25
That action is definitely useful for that in T&E, I would imagine it is still useful for that. It's also quite useful in T&E for trying to get red tiles (well any tiles you need but yknow).
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #293416 05 Mar 2019 10:29
The discard is underutilized by inexperienced players. From a high level, you always want to be playing/scoring whatever color you have the least amount of cubes in. If you're not doing that or working towards that, you're actually not progressing.
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #293417 05 Mar 2019 10:45
Sculpting your hand in T&E is vital. I haven't played Y&Y but being able to jump into other conflicts reads like it would be even more important. You may even want to do the occasional discard to fish for stuff even if you think you're a bit behind if it means you can sway a key conflict without having to commit yourself to it.