Tigris & Euphrates

Mayfair Games, 1999, 3-4 players, ages 12 and up. Tigris & Euphrates is another of those non-aggressive strategy games imported from Germany. Although quite abstract - the actual gameplay has very little to do with building kingdoms in BC middle east - the game mechanisms are well designed and make for a pretty interesting game. Oddly enough, it reminds me a bit of the classic game of Acquire. Players take turns building kingdoms by placing square tiles on the grid-shaped board (up to two per turn). Each player has 4 different "leader" pieces which are also placed on the board. If the color of the placed kingdom tile matches the color of a leader that is currently in that kingdom, the placer of the tile earns a victory point of that color (there are four colors in the game). Leaders and tiles are subject to various restrictions about where they can be placed and what they can be placed next to. When a tile is placed uniting two kingdoms, conflicts between like-colored leaders must be resolved (only one leader of a given color me be in a kingdom at any one time). If four like tiles are placed such that they make a square, a temple may be erected on that spot. Temples offer tribute to leaders each turn in the form of victory points, so they become quite strategically important.

Basically you spend your turns trying to figure out how to get your leaders into kingdoms that have like-colored temples so that you can be earning victory points every turn. The twist is, the winner is determined by who has the most victory points of the color that all players have the least of. IE, you total up how man red victory points everyone has, how many blue everyone has, and so on, to determine which color has the fewest victory points between all the players. Then, the player with the most of that color wins. So, you have to make sure you stay diversified as you earn your victory points. It's well-conceived and fairly entertaining. I don't give it my highest recomendation, but it's certainly good enough to keep on the shelf and bring out every once in a while when you're in the mood for something different. As has been the case with the other Mayfair games I've purchased, the playing pieces are superb. Games go pretty quickly- a couple of hours or so to complete a three player game.

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