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Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Beating a dead horse. (Which, if you look at an Alaska map, is just north of Coldfoot)

Deadhorse, that is. My T&E comments are what I am beating to death.

Had a chance to play Tigris and Euphrates a couple times in the last couple weeks. It never ceases to amaze me just how good that game is. It is still my favorite game, bar none.

I can see how people can claim that the game is random, because of the random tile draw. However, I maintain that people who make that claim are myopic. I would surmise that most people making the claim place their tiles in one area of the board in order to build up a kingdom that they think of as their own.

Tiles (and leaders for that matter) can be placed anywhere. Didn't draw that red tile? Force an internal conflict that you can win. You get one red point for that. Didn't draw that blue tile you need to get blue points? Reposition your blue leader to a new area with several blue tiles, place a connecting tile to force an external conflict that you can win, and reap blue points.

What a brilliant game. It is not uncommon for me to have 2 or 3 leaders off the board for most of the game. I frequently get kicked back out of territory that I exploited for a turn or two. I, like most people, try to build a stronghold at the beginning, but am usually plagued by a lack of red tiles. I adjust my strategy accordingly and frequently win or come in second by a small margin. If I do manage to build a stronghold I don't hesitate to move leaders to gain a small advantage for a turn or two.

Granted, building a stronghold is a good means of not losing any wars. Other players will avoid you, and you will be in no wars to gain victory points. As soon as you build a monument you are opening yourself up to be defeated in external conflict in the color you just turned over.

What a good game.

Good gaming

You said: "Didn't draw that red tile? Force an internal conflict that you can win. You get one red point for that."

How do you win an internal conflict if you don't have red tiles? Unless your opponents have set you up for an easy win, you can't.

This aside, your post gives a nice general idea of how to mitigate BAD luck in T&E. But that's only half the story. There's no effective way to combat other player's GOOD luck in the tile draw. I've seen far too many games won because a player luckily drew 4 green tiles just before being engaged in a green war (for example). The huge swing of points this can cause can easily determine victory in the game.

I still really like the game but I do not think it rewards skill as highly as some believe.
Good point. I understand what you are saying, and yes, I did simplify my example somewhat.

However, the person who draws an inordinate number of tiles of a certain color is not necessarily lucky. By doing so he drew a decreased number of tiles in other color(s). Even though he can run up the score in a certain color it doesn't matter. It is his lowest scoring color that is the final score.

There is at least a 75% chance that the guy who drew the green tiles at the end of the game(in your example) needed to draw tiles of another color to boost his final score.

The game further favors the skilled player in yet another way. There are times when you can give up huge amounts of points in a color that your opponent has plenty of in order to score a point or two in a color you need. It takes a skilled player to recognize and take advantage of those opportunities.

Yes, there is some luck in the game, but managing the luck you have is half the fun. Figuring out how to take all those blue tiles and score red points with them leaves you with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the game.
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