This forum is in permanent archive mode. Our new active community can be found here.

Played T&E for the first time; mixed reactions

edited May 2008 in Board Games
So I allowed a friend to finally convince me to play a few games of Tigris and Euphrates recently, and I thought I'd share my thoughts since everyone seems to big-up this game so much. Since praise for this game is in no short supply and I probably wouldn't offer anything new here, I'll just say that I agree the mechanics are superbly crafted, and move on to what I didn't like.

My first complaint concerns the incredibly thin theme, this is not to say I dislike the theme, but rather to say that the theme has very little to do with the actual mechanics of the game. T&E could just as easily be a game about gardening or culturing bacteria. The theme in this case is just a paper-thin veneer of fluff over raw, abstract game mechanics. This complaint is by no means unique to T&E, but rather a common criticism of this style of German board game.

There's nothing inherently wrong with abstract puzzle games, I just prefer a game that offers some potential for immersion and Role Play. Such abstract games just aren't that engaging for me. I prefer a game whose mechanics are designed around a specific theme to represent that theme in gameplay terms(Dune, which you recently discussed, does this perfectly). Many German game designers actually develop the game mechanics and then slap a theme on it that kinda sorta fits those mechanics. So I guess what I'm getting at in a circuitous way, is that I think the game is dry.

To prevent this from becoming an essay I'll just say that I also have problems with the randomness in the game, and the chaotic nature of the game if played with more than two people.

Overall I'd give it a B-


  • What you say about the German style games is true. Many of them are just abstract games with a theme slapped on. If you enjoy the games with theme and role-playing, then they are not for you. We enjoy games with mechanics, and having a little theme is a nice bonus. Also, with with many of these types of games, you have to add your own theme a bit. Try playing Settlers of Catan, but have everyone talk like a cave man, or cowboys, or pirates. It doubles the fun if everyone gets into it.

    As for randomness, there isn't that much. The only randomness in the game is when you draw tiles from the bag. That is a random factor that is easily mitigated with skill. Because the tiles you have are kept secret, it matters even less.

    I can understand why someone would say that the game becomes chaotic with many players. When the board starts to get full, it is not easy to make any sense of what is going on. You'll just have to trust me that when you begin to understand the game, you'll be able to make sense of even the most messed-up boards.
  • This is interesting. I bought and played T&E over the weekend with a couple of friends, and it was thumbs up all 'round. We spent several hours playing RPGs during the day, and transitioned over to board games (T&E and Carcassonne) at night. The only real complaint I have about T&E is that the board was more blue-coloured than it should have been. Apart from that, awesome fun. I guess we avoided your issues regarding the abstractness by getting the roleplaying out of our systems before board gaming.
  • edited May 2008
    Don't get me wrong I'm not saying strong mechanics aren't important. As many games are all style and no substance, and thus are quickly broken. I'm saying Tigris and Euphrates is all substance no style, and that doesn't quite do it for me either.

    Puerto Rico's gameplay is far more related to it's theme than T&E's is, Puerto Rico would only make sense with a theme similar to the one it has. T&E would make sense with almost any theme you can imagine. Therefore I don't have the same problems with PR that I do with Tigris and Euphrates.
    Post edited by ironzealot on
  • I've been transitioning somewhat from Eurogames to wargames. I will always play Eurogames, but now I'm starting to balance the two genres. I find that wargames have much more strategy and depth. This comes at a cost, though. The rules are often much more complicated. I'm not necessarily a fan of the subject matter (war), but I am a fan of the depth and strategy. I've come to realize that many Eurogames are pretty shallow once you play them a few times. A wargame with multiple scenarios will entertain and challenge you for much longer.

    If you want a game that allows you to role play, look at Descent. It's basically D&D in boardgame form. With numerous scenarios and changing maps, there's actually a decent amount of strategy.
  • I find myself in the opposite position, I'm a long time wargamer who keeps being pressured into playing eurogames, and I often relent.

    Eurogames or German-style boardgames to me seem kind of like a middle point between the simplicity of party games(like Monopoly) and the uber hardcore strategy of classic hex based wargames(like Korsun Pocket). I enjoy Eurogames thoroughly, I just prefer the depth and variability of wargames.
Sign In or Register to comment.