Reiner Knizia’s Tigris & Euphrates is every bit as good on iOS as it is in a box
Tigris and Euphrates is, to boutique board game players, the very definition of a classic. When it’s considered one of a designer’s best efforts, and that designer is famous for making excellent games, then you know you’re getting something special. A digital port of this much beloved classic was a risky move, if it didn’t live up to the standard set it was really going to fall on its face. Luckily developer Codito has done an excellent job.
Tigris and Euphrates is a tile laying game where players are trying to build and maintain the best kingdom in the historical fertile crescent. You do this by placing tiles and leaders representing four aspects of culture (farming, trading, government and religion). Each recourse is represented by different colored tiles and has a single like-colored “leader” tile associated with it. Placing tiles of different colors adjacent to each other expands your kingdom. Having a like colored leader tile connected to your kingdom allows you to score points associated with that color.
Of course like any good growing civilization, inevitably war occurs when different cultures get to close for comfort. Here, if tiles are placed that cause two kingdoms to connect, and that means 2 similar leaders from different players are now connected, that just won’t do. Only one leader for each color can be in any one kingdom, and after the war is played out the loser is removed from the board (though can be placed back later on).
One of the best aspects of Tigris and Euphrates is its unique scoring system. You score points in the four different categories. Your final score is whichever is weakest, so excelling at farming while totally ignoring religion means your final score is going to be dismal. You need to build all four evenly to give you the best chance at victory.
That was a super basic rundown of how the game works, though it’s ultimately much deeper than that. This is the kind of game that greatly benefits a player that knows how the game works, and you’ll get better at it the more you play. Luckily there’s a nicely handled tutorial that steps you though all the main parts of the game. You’ll place tiles, create monuments, cause catastrophes, fight in wars, etc. It’s all explained in a mock game that really helps you understand everything clearly.
As a fan of Tigris and Euphrates, I had a lot of expectations going into the game, and by and large they met them handily. The game looks like the classic boardgame, dragging and moving tiles is simple, and all the menus and information panes are clear and easy to understand.
There’s an online multiplayer component that really shows you how deep the game’s strategy can be. I got my behind kicked pretty soundly over and over, but the important part is that it works really well. The only improvement I’d like to see is maybe some notification on whether your opponent is actually online or not. But the push turn notification otherwise works great.
Tigris and Euphrates is just the newest classic to make the digital leap to the App Store, and again, with excellent results. Whether you’re a fan of the game and are always in want of an opponent, or you’ve never played and want a cheaper way to learn it and check it out, it’s hard to beat this version. Kudos to Codito – they’re quickly proving themselves to be among the masters of digital board game adaptations.