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Tigris & Euphrates; Reiner Knizia's Masterpiece

Tigris & Euphrates is one of those games that has managed to stay in my collection for 6 years now, which as a gamer for 7 years now, is pretty good. It's also gone through multiple reprints since 1997, so for over 20 years now it's been a gamer staple and for good reason. The designer, Reiner Knizia has over 500 games under his belt, and Tigris is his mostly highly rated, and the only one in the BoardGameGeek top 100. Speaking for myself, I've played around 30 of his games, with 9 still in my collection, and the only Knizia game I like better (maybe), is Quest for El Dorado which I wrote about here.

What makes Tigris so good, is that it takes a classic Knizia mathy scoring system and builds around it an amazing conflict heavy area control game. The basics of Tigris & Euphrates is that each player has 2 actions each turn, those actions most commonly involve placing a leader or placing a tile. Placing a leader gives you influence and control over a kingdom, and placing tiles gives points to the matching leader of that kingdom. There area types of points to acquire, and at the end of the game your score is equal to the lowest of the 4 types, forcing you to heavily diversify rather than turtling down in a single kingdom.

What makes Tigris special is the balance between managing your leaders ability to stay in control through both external conflicts and internal revolts, both of which are handled differently. The key here isn't winning...it's knowing when to try to win and when to walk away. You will never win every battle, but it's important to make the right judgement calls both about which battles you need to win, as well as knowing which battles your opponent needs to win. Thanks to the scoring system, not all points are created equal. 

Combine a tactical board, the ebb and flow of kingdoms, well placed destruction and the ever shifting balance of power. Weigh up the benefits of a monument, the attraction of a treasure tile (wild points), or the simple point of a color you need. Decide how badly you need to prep for an attack vs a defense and enjoy the fun of forcing two opponents to clash when they really don't want to. T&E manages to always deliver an amazing game, and often in only 90 minutes to boot!

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