Alec Chapman(ALGO)United Kingdom
It’s a brave choice for me to choose Knizia’s best game (your experience may vary) because I am truly dreadful at it, as well as having traded my copy away months ago.
I know what you’re thinking.
How on Earth can you play one hundred games of T&E before buying anything? Won’t you be doing that forever?
Well no, because of two factors – the speed I play and the fact that I know for definite I have opponents who love this game enough.
In Tigris and Euphrates you are the leader of a cardboard civilisation expanding in four different factors: farming, trading, religion and government (let’s face it, colours) and trying to get a large number of sets of those colours. You get a point per colour for having a leader of that colour in the orthogonally connected civilisation. As such, none of these groups of tiles are necessarily “yours” and by merging with them or deposing their leaders you can gain a crucial foothold and more points in your weaker colours.
You can also build monuments from a 2x2 block of the same colour, which get even more victory points for the current controller, but which are highly prized military targets.
The conflict system is a bit of a headache, but revolves around having the right tiles in hand at the right time to add to your apparent strength on the board.
It’s one of the more complex systems to teach in advance and one of the longer games in the list, but the potential rewards of strategy exploration are enormous. Not least, I will learn negotiation skills in persuading someone else to let their copy be played 100 times!