Euphrate & Tigris: Rules

Article originally published at Chris Lawson's Web Pages
Don't forget to look at his FAQ about this game. It clarifies some of the rules.

by Reiner Knizia, for 2 - 4 players

Ur... Nineveh... Babylon - the Bible describes these cities as the origin of mankind. Science agrees: in fertile Mesopotamia, between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, lay the cradle of civilisation.

Around 3,000 B.C. the first large settlements developed along the rivers' embankments. Soon, however, farmers began to irrigate large parts of their lands, away from the rivers. An achievement with consequences. Transport problems arose. Without further ado, potters' wheels were turned on their sides and mounted onto rude carts. Much more food could henceforth be carried. This achievement had other repercussions. Traders now wanted to record their growing numbers of barters. This was done by scratching marks into their urns, thereby inventing writing - even before the Egyptians. Furthermore, there now sprang up a multitude of priests and administrators.

One thousand years later, the ancient and wealthy kingdom of Ur had been destroyed. Power was now in the hands of the Babylonian king, Hammurabi. New kingdoms arose. From the north permeated the Hittites. Between the two rivers, power was seized by the people of Assur, the Assyrians. The realm of their king Sargon was only surpassed, many years later, by the empire of Alexander the Great.

Over the centuries, one dynasty succeeded another. Only one thing remained constant: the advance of civilisation that went alongside the struggles for power. It was always exciting - even if not everyone could succeed. The game of Euphrates & Tigris lets you take part in the fascinating development of civilisation.

He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.
Aristotle: Politics

Game Materials

153 Civilisation tiles
8 Catastrophe tiles
1 Unification tile
6 Monuments (wooden)
16 Leaders of 4 dynasties (wooden disks)
140 Victory point counters (20 small and 15 large wooden cubes in each of 4 colours)
10 Treasures (plain wooden cubes)
4 Screens
1 Bag (for civilisation tiles)
Settlement Temple Farm Market
(30) (57) (36) (30)
King Priest Farmer Trader
(Lion dynasty)

In the following rules, the civilisation tiles are abbreviated as tiles. However, catastrophe tiles and the unification tile will always be referred to in full.


Before the first game, the monument pieces should be assembled as follows.
(If required, use a drop of glue.)

Onto each of the 10 board spaces showing a winged beast place a temple, and on top of that a treasure. The remaining tiles go into the bag.

Each player chooses a dynasty consisting of four leaders, each showing the same symbol. These, together with the appropriate screen and two catastrophe tiles, are placed in front of each player. Then, each player draws 6 tiles from the bag, and places them behind his screen, so that only he can see them. Note that players are identified by their symbols, not by colours. Everyone uses all the colours.

Spare leaders, screens and catastrophe tiles are put back into the game box. Victory points, monuments and the unification tile are place by the side of the board. A starting player is chosen at random.

Object of the Game

The aim of each player is to develop the four key spheres of civilisation: settlements, temples, farms and markets. To do this, players will position their leaders, create and extend kingdoms, build monuments and resolve conflicts, thereby gaining victory points in each of the four spheres. The winner is the player who develops civilisation a balanced way, without revealing a sphere of weakness.


The term kingdom needs explanation. During the game leaders and tiles are placed face-up on the board. Temples and tiles with a common edge are described as joined, and form a region. No joins are established diagonally.

A region which contains at least one leader is called a kingdom. Kingdoms are what this game is about.

A kingdom can contain several leaders, irrespective of whether they belong to the same or different players. Kingdoms grow when leaders and tiles are added. Kingdoms can be joined and separated. As long as a kingdom contains only leaders of different colours, everything is peaceful. Conflicts arise when there are two like-coloured leaders within one kingdom.

Course of the Game

The game proceeds clockwise. The player taking his turn is called the active player. He may carry out up to two actions, in any order. Whether he chooses the same action twice, or two different ones, is up to him. The following actions are allowed:

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