Reiner Knizia’s Tigris and Euphrates for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch review

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Tigris and Euphrates

Tigris and Euphrates is not a casual, play-a-couple-levels-while-you’re-waiting-on-the-bus kind of game. Instead, you’ll find yourself in the ancient near east, gradually building empires on a gameboard modeled after ancient Mesopotamia. From a start screen framed by the Ishtar Gate, you are transported to an ancient world where you battle other gods while building civilizations, starting wars, and amassing points in a complex strategy game.

The basic board is a 16×11 grid, onto which you place tiles representing either traders, temples, civilizations, or farmers (who have to be placed on a tile with a river running through it). You also have leader tiles, which let you amass points from the various types of tiles you place on the board. All tiles are color-coded, and you earn points in four categories that correspond to the tile colors. Your score is the lowest individual color score you get, so if you have 20 blue points but only five green ones, your score is five. The goal of the game is to have the highest score, which leads to one of the crucial nuances in the game.


Tigris and Euphrates isn’t solely about building the largest kingdom. You have to have a balanced strategy that earns you points in all four color categories, and you also have to build kingdoms that are resistant to revolts/attacks, whereby another player challenges you. These conflicts are resolved by sheer strength, so having more tiles of all colors on the board lends you an advantage. You can also use these conflicts to your advantage, by forcing other players to compete, thereby opening up spots on the board for your own empire to expand.

As I mentioned in the intro, this is not a casual game. When I sat down to play through it I spent two hours more than I planned! The strategies required to plan and build your empire, fend off attacks, and use creative chaos to disadvantage your enemies makes Tigris and Euphrates even more challenging than chess.


If you need mindless entertainment, look elsewhere; if you enjoy strategy games that test your logic, Tigris and Euphrates is definitely a great addition to your iPad’s game arsenal. With multiplayer modes you can play against up to four other players in either a local or online games. Game Center integration lets you share your successes.

Although there is an extensive tutorial, I recommend you only go through it once, then get started playing against AI characters. The tutorial text is helpful, but there is so much nuance to the game that it’s tough to really absorb the strategies necessary without getting hands on. Once you’ve mastered the basic game an advanced map is available as a $0.99 in-app purchase.

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Reiner Knizia's Tigris and Euphrates review

Buy Reiner Knizia’s Tigris and Euphrates

Category: Games
Seller: Codito Development
Requirements: iOS 3.1 or later
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
File Size: 54.9MB
Version Reviewed: 2.0.1
Price: $4.99 (advanced board is a $0.99 in-app purchase)
Age Rating: 4+

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