Introducing Tigris & Euphrates
Tigris & Euphrates has been in the BGG top 5 forever. Well, maybe not quite forever, but for a long time anyway. In fact, it was even the #1 game at one point, pre-dating the kingship of Puerto Rico. First published in 1997, it's now entering it's thirteenth year on the game table. And it remains popular - it's a Reiner Knizia game after all, and arguably his best. Certainly it features some innovative mechanics, and in many respects it's altogether unlike most other euro games.
Apparently Mayfair saw fit to give it a bit of a production overhaul, and so at the very end of 2008, we're saw a revised edition. If you're wondering what the revised edition is like, what you get, and how it looks, then you've come to the right place: this guide is for you.
Note: I won't be covering the rules or gameplay of the basic game, since this is intended primarily as guide to the revised edition.
What editions are there of Tigris & Euphrates?
Tigris & Euphrates has been through several different editions already:
1997 - Original German edition: Hans im Glück = Top Licence & 999 Games (French/Dutch)
2003 - Original English edition: Mayfair Games
2007 - Revised German edition: Pegasus Spiel
2008 - Revised English edition: Mayfair Games
Tigris & Euphrates was first published in German (and then in other European languages like French and Dutch), and then was published in English by Mayfair with different artwork. In 2007, the game was re-published in Germany with different artwork again, but with the addition of several new elements: an expansion map, and some extra components for advanced play. The revised edition from Mayfair includes these new elements, but retains some of the original Mayfair artwork.
So how does the artwork compare? Here are the games placed side by side, in this order:
German (1997) | English (2003)
German (2007) | English (2008)
(Note that the civilization tiles are unchanged in the Mayfair editions)
In play - detail
In play - entire game
Why did Mayfair produce a revised edition?
Mayfair sold out of its previous copies of Tigris & Euphrates. Since the German publisher Pegasus Spiele released a revised version of Tigris & Euphrates with several new elements (a two-sided gameboard, four new civilization buildings, and an advanced scenario for game play), Mayfair decided to incorporate these new elements in its new printing. The new elements were designed by Knizia himself.
What do you get with the revised edition?
Here's the complete list of components:
The majority of the artwork is unchanged from the original Mayfair, at least, on the tiles:
The main differences between the two Mayfair editions are the map artwork and some additional elements.
What is the same about the revised edition?
The following components in Mayfair's revised edition are identical to those of the original edition:
The player screens
There are 4 of these, one for each player's dynasty:
The reverse side has a rules reference:
The dynasty tiles
There are 4 dynasty tiles (Bull, Archer, Potter, Lion), one for each player:
These represent four great civilizations: Ur (Bull), Babylon (Lion), Hittites (Urn), and Assyria (Archer). (read more about the dynasty symbols here)
The leader markers
There are 16 of these, a set of four for each player's dynasty (Bull, Archer, Potter, Lion). There is a black King, green Trader, red Priest, and blue Farmer for each dynasty:
The civilization tiles
The 153 civilization tiles are the same as the original Mayfair edition, i.e. 30 black Settlements, 30 green Markets, 57 red Temples, and 36 blue Farms:
The bag is used to store the civilization tiles:
The unification tiles
There are 4 unification tiles (one for each player) that are used to indicate when two kingdoms join:
Note that the Mayfair website incorrectly states that there is only 1 unification tile - in fact there are 4.
The catastrophe tiles
Each player gets two catastrophe tiles, for a total of 8:
There are 6 monuments, each consisting of two colours:
The victory point cubes
There are 80 small wooden cubes (20 in each of the four colours), and 60 large wooden cubes (15 in each of the four colours):
The treasure cubes
There are 10 wooden treasure markers:
The expansion map requires another 4 treasure markers, which were not included in the revised edition as an oversight. More information is described below, but this will be corrected in future shipments of the game, and Mayfair will provide customers who missed out with the missing treasure markers.
The game comes with two booklets. First of all there's the comprehensive Game Rules:
There is also a Game Overview booklet:
What is new about the revised edition?
The game box
Of course! A revised edition needs a new game box:
And of course the information on the back of the box has been updated to reflect the changes from previous editions:
Especially note the following: "This revised edition contains a new 2-sided game board, 4 new civilization buildings, and a new advanced scenario!" Let's find out more about these changes!
New artwork on the map
The artwork is somewhat similar to the German revised edition by Pegasus Spiele, but the colours are not quite as bright. At any rate, it's certainly a change from the artwork of the original Mayfair edition.
So how exactly does it look? I like the colours. Check out some of these more detailed pictures below, and judge for yourself:
It doesn't have the harsh and stark artwork of the first Mayfair edition, nor the overly bright colours of the Pegasus edition, but is more like the muted and soft colours of the original German edition. This also matches nicely with the artwork of the rest of the components:
An expansion map
This is the single biggest change implemented by the revised edition: the game board is double sided. What's on the reverse side? A new expansion map, as an alternate way to play the game:
One thing to notice is that there is no longer only one place on the map for building blue-based monuments.
But not only is the geography different, also notice how there are 14 temple locations instead of 10. Here's the artwork detail from part of the expansion map:
For discussion about the alternate map, see this thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/361734
There are 4 Civilization buildings, used for the advanced game, a Palace, Market Hall, Library, and Granary:
Ziggurat tiles and Tower
There are also 5 Ziggurat tiles, and a Tower that is used with them:
The civilization buildings and ziggurat tiles are all used for the advanced scenario.
How does the advanced scenario work?
The Advanced Game Board is the alternate board on the back of the original board, and uses a different map with 4 extra treasures. The original rules are used, with the addition of special rules for the 4 civilization buildings and 5 ziggurat tiles.
How do the civilization buildings work?
Whenever you create a line of 3 tiles of the same colour, you may take the corresponding colored building and place it on these tiles. When placing a tile in a kingdom containing a building of this colour, the score for the respective leader increases from 1 to 2 cubes. Tiles supporting civilization buildings also can't be removed as a result of conflict.
For a detailed explanation of the rules for civilization buildings, see the English translation of the Pegasus rules here:
For discussion about the variant with civilization buildings, see this thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/157943
How do the ziggurat tiles work?
The Ziggurat is a special monument consisting of five tiles in a a cross-like shape. Whenever you create a cross of 5 tiles of any one colour, you can replace them with the Ziggurat tiles, and place the Tower in the center. The Ziggurat works like all other monuments, but it cannot be destroyed, and it only gives bonuses if your King is in a kingdom containing the Ziggurat.
The Ziggurat is a new addition that seems to be limited to the English revised edition by Mayfair, and is not part of the German revised edition by Pegasus.
For discussion about the variant with the ziggurat, see this thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/374007
Are there any problems with the revised edition?
There are two issues you should be aware of:
Can you play with 2 players?
The side of the box states that the game is suitable for 3-4 players:
Clearly this is a mistake - the game is just as suitable for two players as it has always been. Oddly enough Mayfair's website incorrectly states that the revised edition is for 2-6 players - this is also a mistake. Don't panic folks, the revised edition is for 2-4 players, just like the original.
Are there enough treasure cubes?
The game comes with 10 treasure markers. But doesn't the expansion board require 14? Oops! This is a small mistake made by Mayfair, and they know about it. In fact, you'll find this on their website:
For those of you who have obtained the new version of Tigris and Euphrates (MFG 4116), you will find that insufficient treasure cubes were provided to play one of the two boards provided. Mayfair Games apologizes for the error, and is taking steps to resolve the error for the next round of assembled games. If you have a new version (owners with a Mayfair edition double-sided board, stock number MFG 4116) with only 10 natural-wood treasure cubes, contact Mayfair Customer Service at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide us with your name and address, and we will send you four cubes as soon as the game pieces arrive (allow 2-3 weeks before we can begin to process cube supplement requests; the order was placed as soon as the error was discovered, and our delivery schedule for the pieces has now been confirmed).See also the discussion thread here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/372063
Note that games that are assembled after this announcement will have the correct number of cubes, but will NOT reflect the new number on the box and rules. We will fix these on subsequent runs, but these pieces have already been printed and prepared for assembly.
T&E underwent a facelift previous to this new edition, and in our attempt to preserve as much of the work that had gone before, one necessary change did not get applied. Mayfair will post a note here as soon as we begin to ship cube supplement requests, and again regrets the inconvenience to our players!
What are people saying about the revised edition?
It's still early days as yet, but here are some preliminary comments from others about the revised edition.
About the artwork:
"The 1st Mayfair Edition ... has a horrible board that makes it look like you're building a civilization in Antartica." - Nicolas Boulo
"Mayfair edition 1 is the worst graphically. It's too busy." - candoo
"I think the second edition has the prettier artwork, but the artwork of the first edition looks much clearer and you can distinguish the different kind of tiles better." - Berthold Nüchter (comment on German editions)
About the expansion map and advanced game:
"If you never wanted to play the advanced game, you wouldn't need the extra components. The advanced game is intended for long time T&E players that want to add something new, like an expansion." - droberts441
"The base game offers a lot of gameplay and replayability. The variants/additions are not necessary. You could use any cube or marker to denote the extra civilization buildings." - candoo
"I don't care that much about the extra monuments and the second board. The base game has an extraordinary longevity/replayability by itself. No extra chrome is needed in my humble opinion." - Guillaume Gallais
"The biggest difference is that there are a heck of a lot more treasures. As a result, the tempo of the game changes; the early game scramble for treasures that is ended by imminent external conflicts feels like it lasts longer, and then there seems to be a precipitous shift to not enough space on the board. For experienced players it offers a nice change of pace." - Mark Bigney
It would seem that the jury is still out on what the game play with the advanced rules is like, but initial comments about the artwork of the revised edition are positive.
So should you get the revised edition? Since Mayfair is no longer printing the original version of the game, unless your favourite retailer still has it in stock, it looks like the only version that will be available in the future will be the revised edition. What about if you already own the game? The general consensus is that Tigris & Euphrates is a fantastic game with high replayability in its own right, and I haven't seen too many threads with people begging for expansions. The expansion map and components do offer something new for die-hard players, but it's probably not worth buying the revised version if you already have the base game, unless you're really in love with the new artwork. But for gamers like me who are only just adding Tigris & Euphrates to our games collection, the revised edition is more than satisfactory, and a welcome addition to the stable!
The complete list of Ender's pictorial reviews: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/37596
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