While Elfenland was played on one table, Euphrat and Tigris was played at the other table:
Euphrat & Tigris
3 player (Sterling, Rich, and Jennifer)
As Sterling explained the rules to Rich and Jennifer, we decided on our dynasties. Sterling was the ancient ancestor of the modern day wizard - the Potters. Richard was the lion-hearted lions. Jennifer was the sage archers. Sterling offered to play first to demonstrate the rules. Sterling placed his trader and some markets in one corner of the board. Jennifer followed suit on the other side of the board. Rich then set the overall tone for the game by having 3 markets behind his screen and saw the opportunity for some early conflict, so developed rather close to Sterling.
This set up a pattern of Rich and Sterling starting to encroach on upon each others kingdoms. And the first external conflict was arranged by Rich. As both kingdoms had traders and priests, there would be 2 battles. Rich won the trader battle, but could do no better than a tie in priests. But the new, larger kingdom was formed establishing one of the dominate kingdoms for the game. At this point, both Rich and Sterling had leaders established in this kingdom.
With no adversaries around, Jennifer quietly built first one and then a second monument having all four colors and all four leaders in her part of the valley. When three of the four farm tiles had been built, Rich thought about trying to block the development of the second monument, but decided (poorly perhaps) that removing his farmer from the original kingdom was cost too much. It was too late that I realized it cost me more not trying to interfere with the monuments. Finally realizing that Jennifer was raking in four victory points (one of each color) each turn, Rich started a belated indirect challenge on her kingdom. He forced an external conflict from his small kingdom containing his king and 2 settlements attacking Jennifer's monument metropolis which contained 0 settlements. A bit of a desperate move, but Rich counted on Jennifer having few settlements behind her screen. Much to Rich's dismay (and defeat), Jennifer had the 2 settlements necessary to defend the attack. Jennifer's kingdom was not going to be acquired by external conflict. Instead, it would be direct conflict from within.
Sterling attempted to move his farmer in not once, but twice, but Jennifer seemed to have an ample supply of temples behind the screen with which to defend. Sensing that the third time might be the charm, Rich tried the same tactic, but was rebuffed also. So Jennifer continued to gather victory points and continue to add monuments to the kingdom accelerating the victory point flow.
Finally, Rich managed to dislodge Jennifer's farmer followed by another attack on the king to stop at least half the victory point flow to Jennifer and hopefully divert them to Rich. But it was too late as Jennifer had collected a rather large set of victory points by this time.
Hoping to remove some of the leaders and tiles from the board, Sterling did merge one of Rich's smaller kingdoms to the Jennifer's larger kingdom forcing an external conflict between kings. Both gained some benefit as Jennifer gained 4 black victory points, but Rich gained one of the treasures (also known as a white crouton) by virtue of having the trader in the resulting kingdom. While Jennifer did win the battle, Rich did pick up the wild point as a result of having the green leader in the kingdom.
Sterling thought about joining the two massive kingdoms on the board to force a battle between Jennifer's and Rich's priests and the removal on many Jennifer's temples in hopes of weakening the kingdom to allow time to gain more victory points. But as temples on the board were fairly equal, Sterling had to hope that temples behind the screen would be played in his favor. This was just too much of a chance to take, so the tensions between the kingdoms were delayed.
Sterling and Rich sensed it would be a long, very long uphill battle to catch Jennifer. But the points became moot when Jennifer forced the merger of two small kingdoms. Even though she lost the conflict, Rich picked up the another treasure leaving 2 on the map and drawing the game to a close.
Rich split his treasures to achieve a score of 10 (19:14:10:10) Sterling used his treasures to achieve a score of 9 (12:10:9:9) Jennifer had but a single treasure but a score of 20 (26:23:20:20)
Maintaining TVG tradition, the first time player wins the inaugural game. To add insult to our injury, her lowest score is higher than either of our highest scores.
During the game, both Rich and Sterling realized that we had spent too much time trying to get at each other and ignored for way too long Jennifer's growing kingdom. Looking at 3-player comments about E&T on the geek, this appears to be a common thread. Looking the board at game's end, the two main kingdoms on the board were the original Rich/Sterling kingdom and Jennifer's kingdom. Rich did see the blue monument being built, but didn't move to counter the action - a mistake no doubt. When Sterling and Rich di finally move towards Jennifer's kingdom, the damage had been done. In hindsight, I probably should have started out a bit further away from Sterling - more central to both and then responded with feints against both kingdoms hoping to keep their development in modest check or building up strength to allow an overthrow.
A nice game taking about 90 minutes to play undoubtedly slowed a bit by the two newcomers to the game. But a game that I can see deserves its acclaim and a game I look forward to playing again if given the opportunity.