For some obscure reason I had to go to a game shop this morning and get another game. Games I considered included Samurai, Ticket to Ride, Amun Ra. In the end I went for Tigris and Euphrates, another game designed by Reiner Knizien (creator of Puerto Rico). Haven't played it yet, but certainly look forward to doing so asap.
The Board is big and solid. Players get to place tiles on the map, spreading farms, temples, markets and cities across ancient mespotania. As they do so, they each use their various 'factional' leader types (each player having a king, farmer, priest and merchant in their dynasty) to gain control of the various regions of developed countryside and milk them of victory points. Monumental ziggurats get built, catastrophies disrupt the political landscape and treasure is looted from the most ancient of temple sites.
Being, at one level, a territorial game, there is conflict between forces of opposing players. It is more of what I call 'political' conflict rather than military, the contest being played out between the dynastic factions belonging to each of the players.
The design is crisp and attractive, the pieces being either clearly printed on sturdy card or cleanly machined and coloured wooden markers. Rules are easy to read with clearly illustrated examples, appearing to be comprehensive in explanation of simple game mechanics. The large number of tiles come with their own linen bag to draw them from, suitably sized and carrying an ambience of ancient agricultural society rather than modern industrial kitch.
Again, the mechanism of the game appears to be an interlocking series of subsystems that each have indirect impact upon the others. When mixed with the victory mechanism (where the player wins whose dynasty has the highest score for their weakest faction), it looks to be a finely balanced and subtle game.
I hear it's another masterpiece. Can't wait to find out.
4 hours ago