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

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01 Mar 2019 00:00 #293233 by ubarose
Considered by many to be Reiner Knizia's masterpiece, Tigris & Euphrates...

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? 

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01 Mar 2019 04:02 #293234 by Matt Thrower
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.
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01 Mar 2019 04:45 #293235 by mc

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.
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01 Mar 2019 08:23 #293239 by Michael Barnes
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.
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01 Mar 2019 08:40 #293240 by Vysetron
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.

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01 Mar 2019 09:30 #293243 by Legomancer
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.
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01 Mar 2019 10:30 #293248 by Colorcrayons
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.
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01 Mar 2019 10:38 - 01 Mar 2019 10:39 #293249 by GorillaGrody
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.
Last edit: 01 Mar 2019 10:39 by GorillaGrody.
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01 Mar 2019 10:47 #293251 by Gregarius
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.

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01 Mar 2019 10:48 #293252 by Jackwraith
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.
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01 Mar 2019 10:59 #293253 by GorillaGrody
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.
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01 Mar 2019 11:47 #293255 by Gary Sax
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.
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01 Mar 2019 12:15 #293257 by groth
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.

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01 Mar 2019 12:19 #293258 by ubarose
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

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01 Mar 2019 12:31 #293259 by Not Sure

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.
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