Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Why I keep Euphrates and Tigris

As I am shuffling through my game closet again, working on another purge, I know that storage space is a driving force in my decisions. After all, one of the reasons we need to keep purging is so our toddler can get his closet back :D

So smaller games get an easier time than big ones. Which is why Verrator, only the size of a deck of cards, is probably never going to get purged, even though it hasn't seen play in close to ten years :P

This has led me to comparing Tigris and Euphrates with Euphrates and Tigris:Contest of Kings, otherwise known as Tigris and Euphrates the Card Game. 

Tigris and Euphrates is widely considered to be Reiner Knizia's masterpiece. It's the game that officially pushed him from the guy who did auction games to the guy who made heavier games with lots of interesting math. It's a genuinely brilliant game where you juggle your hand of tiles, your scoring cubes, your board position and your conflict with your opponents.

But, the truth of the matter is that I've never gotten a lot of play out of it. While a couple of my friends owned copies of it, those copies almost never came out. Honestly, most of our plays were at convention board game rooms.

Frankly, we never played the game enough for anyone to really get the nuances of it. If we had, it probably would have become a regular game in the rotation. We never got far enough long the learning curve. In other words, we would have needed to play the game more in order to want to play the game more :D

In comparison, Euphrates and Tigris: Contest of Kings does away with the board, just using columns of cards to define the areas. This creates a vaster simpler spatial component. Even more importantly, the cards double and scoring cubes as well as tiles, so hand management and luck of the draw are both more important.

I don't think anyone would argue that Contest of Kings is a weaker game then the original Tigris and Euphrates. A bunch of columns doesn't create the tactical and strategic play of the board. Needing to be able to both place and score from your hand seriously increases the power of luck of the draw. And, quite frankly, it ends up taking even more space than the board game in play.

However, particularly after I stored it in a photo case that's close to a quarter the size of the original box, Contest of Kings takes up a fraction of the storage space that Tigris and Euphrates would take up. And it is still a good game that gives me that T&E flavor. It doesn't just stand up well to its profoundly good big brother.

So, while I know it is heresy to some gamers, Contest of Kings really fulfills all my T&E needs and can justify its storage space. I don't foresee getting the board game anytime and I don't see myself getting rid of the card game.

No comments:

Post a Comment