Tigris & Euphrates is proof positive that you can have a Euro that features heavy and direct player conflict.
The game has an abstract feel but actually pays decent nods to its theme, particularly in the conflicts that arise and how they're handled between joining kingdoms (or if an usurper Priest or King shows up to try and wrest power away.)
The random tile draws keep everything fresh, you can go for the throat when you're in a position of power, and best of all you can be sneaky and force fights between rival kingdoms! Like the best wargames, the object is to take ground, hold ground, and strike the enemy where they're the weakest, and at just the right time.
Looking forward to the Fall '08 reprint, which will feature a double-sided board and a new 'building' type.
Just a sweet, sweet game and easily one of the best Euros ever made.
The theme is virtually non existent, but since this game feels more like an abstract then anything else that isn't a problem. One of the best tile laying games there is in my opinion, with just enough luck involved to not make it a scripted bore-fest or too prone to AP. The game is chock full of conflict and screwing other opponents around - taking another characters kingdom which they have been carefully growing is always a treat. There is also a playing the odds element when attacking other players as you try and guess what tiles they have in their hand, giving the game a slight gambling feel.
I love this game so much. I find it super hard and it really makes me think. My friends ALL hate this game. They hate that my fiancee turtles up and usually wins. They hate any game that they feel gives advantages to turtling up. But I always explain to them that someone that plans their conflicts well should always beat the person who turtles. Or you build monuments to draw them out.