Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Recommendations

Subject: Taj Mahal vs. Beowulf vs. Tigris & Euphrates rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Enon Sci
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Final inquiry for awhile, and I'll make it brief:

"Osiris Ra" directed my attention to Taj Mahal in a recent thread and - upon researching it - it seems cheap, available and legendarily good. However, before I could make a purchase from my local store I noticed comparisons drawn to Beowulf (also by Knizia) - however the threads I've located have been decidedly mixed. Some say Taj never comes to the table anymore whilst others say Beowulf is the kiddie version of Taj.

Secondly, are either of these a better purchase than Tigris & Euphrates? I've never played any of these titles, and T&E has been on my groups wish list for awhile.

Anyhow, thanks.

ps: When it comes to Taj vs. Beowulf, I imagine both are genuinely good titles. However, I'd really like to know the relative strengths and weaknesses of both.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg Jones
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
I'd go Taj Mahal over Beowulf. Both share the same basic mechanisms. You go around the table, playing some cards until you can't or don't want to play any more, and then you drop.

Taj Mahal definitely has more going for it in terms of what you're trying to gain by playing your cards. There are six things up for grabs in each round. These can be divided up between the players or all grabbed by one player. Different things are of different values to different players. Even though someone else might have the stronger hand, you might be able to get what you need, if they aren't too interested.

In Beowulf, there are five outcomes available. Each player will get one. Whoever goes out first usually gets something bad. Last gets something very good. Everything else is graded in between. There's not a whole lot of difference in the value of something to one player or another. You just have to guess what your chances are of getting the good one and how much it will cost you.

What Beowulf has that Taj Mahal doesn't have is that some of the benefits from the "bidding" are additional cards that come in handy in later bidding. Well, Taj Mahal does have a few times when you can gain one extra random card by winning an "auction". But in Beowulf you can get multiple cards and strong special power cards.

Tigris and Euphrates is a whole different animal. Both Beowulf and Taj Mahal are essentially auction games. Tigris and Euphrates has no auction. It's a tile-laying game. You could make some comparison to Acquire. Groups of tiles build up. When they meet, one will take over the other. But there's more to it than that.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
♪ Isaäc Bickërstaff ♫
United States
Greer
South Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
Entropy Seminar:
badge
The results of a five yeer studee ntu the sekund lw uf thurmodynamiks aand itz inevibl fxt hon shewb rt nslpn raq liot.
Avatar
mb
Taj is a more tense, more unforgiving version of the basic mechanics, while Beowulf is looser. Depending on what sort of experience you like in your gaming, one or the other will suit your tastes.

Myself, I prefer Taj. Maybe you should try them both (if you can) before you decide which to purchase.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Tonks
United Kingdom
Bedfordshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Anarchosyn wrote:

Secondly, are either of these a better purchase than Tigris & Euphrates? I've never played any of these titles, and T&E has been on my groups wish list for awhile.


Although I own Taj Mahal, I've never played it - nor have I either with Beowulf.

But since you mentioned T&E; I own & play it a fair amount... it really is a great game! No auction as previously said, but plenty of conflict & while it's simpler than the rules look, it's one of my favourites of the higher-ranked games.

Highly-recommended from me if it's on your wishlist.

Cheers,

Matt...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Agard
United States
Ashland
Ohio
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It depends on the type of game you are looking to purchase. Taj Mahal is more strategic and requires more careful hand managment, because cards are much harder to come by.

Beowulf is a lighter version. It allows players to "risk" when they don't have a card or don't want to play a card. A "risk" allows a player to draw two cards from the deck. If either of them match the required symbols, they are played as if from the player's hand. Much more luck.

If you enjoy heavy strategy or don't enjoy luck - go with Taj Mahal. Beowulf has more luck and the scoring is easier to understand and explain.

Personally, I enjoyed Beowulf much more. I had a lot more fun playing Beowful than I did playing Taj Mahal. I enjoyed the risk managment of Beowulf. However, it can be frustrating if all a player does is risk. The player will usually lose, but will occasionally get lucky.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Kudzma
United States
Millsboro
Delaware
flag msg tools
designer
People are...
badge
SPOCKED!!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
T&E is better than both of those IMHO.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
arif ally
United States
Kissimmee
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My gaming group likes Taj, we only played T&E once and did not like it. Never played Beowulf.

Now if you are looking for Knizia games then I would also recommend:

Amun-Re
Ra
Samurai
Blue Moon City
Through The Desert

Most of these you can find around $25.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Peters
United States
Belmont
California
flag msg tools
Powers:Coleridge:Milton: Faith...must be, if anything, a clear-eyed recognition of the patterns and tendencies, to be found in every piece of the world's fabric, which are the lineaments of God.
badge
That's Tim Powers' fictional Samuel Coleridge "quoting" John Milton in _The Anubis Gates_.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not a fan of T&E at all: I rate it a 5. I'm clearly wrong, of course, because it's well loved here on BGG!

Taj Mahal is (also in my opinion) one of the greatest games ever, while I found Beowulf far less interesting.

I find that one has the illusion of greater control over one's destiny in a game of Taj than in either T&E or Beowulf. T&E, to its credit, has pre-decision randomness: one does as well as one can with the tiles one draws. Beowulf has post-decision randomness, which makes the game far lighter and less serious. There is comparatively little randomness in Taj Mahal - only four (or five? I can't recall - and I'm too lazy to open my copy right now) blind single-card draws occur during the entire game.

I fear some of my grumpiness with T&E is the observation that (given players of equivalent skill) the better tile draw is the margin of victory. I've had it demonstrated to me that a player with greater skill will usually prevail over weaker players (which, I suspect, is some of the appeal to its proponents.) In contrast, the inter-player chaos that occurs in Taj Mahal ensures that the strongest player will not always win.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not a huge E&T fan, even though I recognize it's a significant design. I've never played Beowulf. So take this with a grain of salt. However, I am a Taj Mahal fan. The important thing to realize about Taj Mahal is that it's a tough game, especially with 5 players. It should say "Age 21+" on the box, because people who get discouraged easily may want to avoid it. If you play more than once, you're almost certain to get into a head-to-head confrontation with another player, often without either of you really meaning to, in which neither of you can afford to withdraw, but only one can come out alive, and that one with scars.

I, too, find it hard to get Taj Mahal onto the table. One friend absolutely refuses to play it with 5 players because it's too brutal. Others can't stand sitting at the table for 90 minutes and sweating over their moves the whole time. If none of your potential opponents can take this, don't buy it. But if you can get the right group of players, there's nothing like it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chester
United States
Temple
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
1) Tigris and Euphrates is arguably Reiner Knizia's finest design. Its a game with fairly simple rules (although not trivially complex). Its certainly no more complex than the majority of big box Euros. Its hard to imagine you can go wrong here. Of course, I count T&E as a 10.

There are a few levels of competency. Its a game that rewards repeat playing as the deeper strategy begins to unfold itself. Lots of people don't go down that path and write it off as being too luck sensitive to the tile draw. I strongly disagree with that assertion....and I think the fact that the stronger player usually wins would argue that luck is not out of whack.

I think this is a great choice for you....and if not now, soon.

2) The comparisons between Taj Mahal and Beowulf are overdone. Really the main (only?) thing the two games have in common is the card collection/bidding mechanic. And there, Beowulf uses a more chaotic version that intervenes with increased luck to make the game more "family-friendly" and less sensitive to good play.

3) Taj Mahal is an unforgiving, tense, bitter game that really hits the sweet spot for some of us. There are a few ways to score points, and timing is a huge factor. There is a spatial development, card collection, set collection with commodities....and there is being able to get what you want without having to pay much for it. Novice players commonly get in bidding wars and bid themselves out of contention. Experienced players discern what their opponents want and make it painful to get it.

4) Beowulf is MUCH lighter and works well with a mixed crowd (in terms of skill level...like a family). Here, you travel a linear path trying to gain points and minimize damage through a series of auctions. Its the same mechanic, bidding in suits. With Taj Mahal, if you withdraw while you are leading in a suit...you are rewarded. In Beowulf, the longer you can stay in relative to the other players, the bigger the reward. The biggest difference is that if you exhaust your hand of the suit in question, you can "risk" and flip two cards from the deck. If you match something, you can keep playing. It really does introduce a lot of luck...too much for my taste for a "gamer's game".

Beowulf is appropriate for a different setting than Taj Mahal is appropriate for, in my opinion. The superficial similarity with bidding to suits ignores the genius of Taj Mahal, in that if you can build strength and withdraw while ahead, you preserve your hand strength and get something nice (hopefully what you wanted). With Beowulf, its much more obvious....just stay in as long as you can, although you may pick your spots to some degree.

So I think your choice should fit your anticipated setting for playing. For me, Taj Mahal and Tigris and Euphrates are two masterpieces which I would want to include in my collection regardless. Beowulf, I'd play occasionally if someone requested it, but I don't miss not owning it.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.