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.
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.
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.
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:
The actions in detail:
Each player possesses a dynasty of 4 leaders: king (black), priest (red), farmer (blue) and trader (green). A player may only position his own leaders.
A leader is always placed onto an empty space on the board. A leader can come from outside the board, or be repositioned from another space on the board. Furthermore, a leader can be withdrawn from the board.
A leader may only be placed in the immediate neighbourhood of a temple, i.e. they have a common edge. (Leaders and gods always hang around together.)
A leader may not be placed on a river space.
A leader may not be placed in such a way as to join two kingdoms together.
In certain situations tiles, in particular temples, may be removed from the board or turned face-down. When the last temple in the immediate neighbourhood of a leader is removed or turned face-down, then the leader is returned the player of that dynasty.
No victory points are awarded for the positioning of leaders. However, without leaders on the board, victory points cannot be earned.
At the beginning of his turn, a player will have 6 tiles behind his screen. They are used to extend civilisation. A tile is taken from behind his screen, and placed onto an empty space of the board.
Blue tiles may only be placed on river spaces.
No other colour tiles may be placed on river spaces.
Most of the time, when a tile is placed a victory point will be awarded. The victory point is always the same colour as the tile placed.
Distribution of victory points
A victory point is awarded under the following circumstances:
If the tile is placed in a kingdom, and this kingdom contains a leader of the respective colour, then the victory point is awarded to the player possessing that leader.
If there is no leader of the respective colour, but there is a king within the kingdom, then the victory point is awarded to the player possessing the king. If there is no king either, then no victory point is awarded.
Furthermore, no victory point is awarded if
Victory points are awarded immediately when a tile is placed. They are kept hidden behind the screens. Small cubes count as one victory point, large cubes as five.
Once a tile is placed, it may not be reallocated.
At the beginning of the game, each player receives two catastrophe tiles.
A catastrophe tile is played onto an empty space, or on top of an existing tile (which is then removed from the game).
A catastrophe tile may not be played onto a tile supporting a treasure or a monument.
A catastrophe tile may not be played onto a leader.
A catastrophe tile disrupts the connection between leaders or tiles. (In this way a catastrophe tile may cause a kingdom to be divided into two or more parts. A catastrophe tile may destroy the last temple in the immediate neighbourhood of a leader. That leader is then returned to the player.)
The active player may put aside, face-down, any number of tiles from behind his screen,
and refresh that number from the bag. The tiles put aside are out of the game.
(If a player does this as his first action, he can use the new tiles to carry out his second action.)
A player's turn ends after carrying out his actions. If one or more of his leaders are linked with monuments, he receives additional victory points (see Monuments). Finally he refreshes his tiles from the bag back to 6. If other players have less than 6 tiles at this point (see Conflicts) then they also refresh their tiles. Now it is the next player's turn.
Conflicts, Monument building and Treasure distribution are events which are explained in the following sections. Events can be initiated through the actions Position a leader or Place a tile. These events form part of an action. The action is only complete when its associated events have been concluded.
(Can be initiated through the actions Position a leader or Place a tile.)
When there are like-coloured leaders in a kingdom, then conflicts arise.
This can happen in two cases:
In both the above cases, leaders may not be withdrawn in order to avoid a conflict occurring. The resolution of a conflict depends upon the tiles already on the board. Additionally, the involved players may use tiles held behind their screens to influence the outcome. After all conflicts have been resolved, a kingdom will only contain leaders of different colours.
The player of the newly positioned leader becomes the attacker. The possessor of the existing leader of the same colour in that kingdom is the defender. Both draw their strength from temples.
To this end, the attacker and the defender both count the number of temples in the immediate neighbourhood of their respective leaders on the board. A temple may count towards both leaders. (The gods are fickle!)
First the attacker, and after him the defender, may add any number of extra temples from behind their screens, and place them beside the board. Each player may only add extra temples once.
Whoever has the higher total of temples wins the conflict. In the case of a tie, the defender wins.
The attacker has 2 temples in the immediate neighbourhood of his leader, the defender one. The attacker adds 2 extra temples, the defender 3. Hence both players have a total of 4 temples. It is a tie, therefore the defender wins.
Consequences of a conflict:
The victor receives one red victory point. The loser's leader is returned to him. The extra 5 temples used by both sides are out of the game.
Two kingdoms may be joined through the placing of a tile, but never through the positioning of a leader. Three or more kingdoms may never be joined by one tile. As noted above, no victory point is awarded when placing a tile which joins two kingdoms. Instead, that tile is covered by the unification tile. A new, larger kingdom is created. If the new kingdom contains no two leaders of a like colour, then the unification tile is removed, and the action is concluded without any conflict arising.
However, if the new kingdom contains leaders of the same colour, then conflicts arise between the involved leaders.
If there are conflicts in more than one colour, the active player decides which conflict to resolve first.
If the active player chooses a conflict with one of his leaders involved, he becomes the attacker. Otherwise, the next player (in clockwise order) with a leader involved becomes the attacker. The other player involved in the conflict is the defender. Both attacker and defender draw strength from their "supporters".
To this end, the attacker and the defender both count the number of their supporters on the board. (Supporter = tile of leader's colour). All supporters in the respective "original kingdoms" of the attacker and the defender are counted, not only the supporters in their immediate neighbourhood.
From this point on, the conflict proceeds as in Case 1: First the attacker, and after him the defender, may add any number of extra supporters from behind their screens, and place them beside the board. Each player may only add extra supporters once.
Whoever has the higher total of supporters wins the conflict. In the case of a tie, the defender wins.
There are two conflicts: between the traders and between the kings. The player who joined the kingdoms decides that the traders will go first. Assuming that the Lion is the attacker, he counts one supporter (i.e. market) in his kingdom and adds 4 extra markets. The defender has 2 supporters in his kingdom and adds one extra market, even though this is not enough to influence the outcome. He is using this opportunity to discard an unwanted market tile. The attacker has a total of 5 supporters, the defender 3. The attacker wins.
Consequences of a conflict:
When a tile is removed from the board, it may cause the kingdom may be divided into two or more parts. As a consequence, leaders originally exposed to conflict may end up in different kingdoms again. Then they are no longer in conflict. However, if there are still leaders of like colours in the kingdom, the conflicts continue, and the active player determines which conflict is resolved next. (The active player influences events by wisely choosing the order in which conflicts are resolved.)
After all conflicts are resolved, the unification tile is removed, and placed back beside the board.
The loser takes back his leader and removes both of his supporters from the board. The victor receives 3 green victory points.The 5 extra tiles used, along with the 2 defeated supporters, are discarded from the game.
At the end of the conflict the kingdom is divided into two parts. The second conflict between the kings is, in this case, avoided. The unification tile is withdrawn from the board, and the action is concluded.
At the end of the active player's turn, all other players who have discarded tiles from behind their screens also refresh their tiles from the bag back up to 6.
In summary: If a leader is positioned in a kingdom which already contains a leader of the same colour (Case 1), then the temples decide the outcome of the (internal) conflict. If two kingdoms are joined such that the new, larger kingdom contains leaders of the same colour (Case 2), then the "original" supporters of the involved leaders determine victory of the (external) conflict. (For quick reference, the inside of the screens show both these scenarios: Case 1 to the left, Case 2 to the right.)
(Can be initiated though the action Place a tile.)
There are 6 monuments in the game. Each monument consists of two different coloured parts. Monuments are built in the following way:
The active player places a tile in such a way that he creates a square of four like-coloured tiles. Then he may turn the four tiles face-down and places a monument on top of them. One colour of the monument must correspond with that of the face-down tiles. If that colour is no longer available, then the monument cannot be built, and therefore the tiles may not be turned face-down.
If, by placing the tile, conflict is initiated, this must be resolved before turning tiles face-down. If the square still exists after the conflict resolution, then the active player may build a monument.
If the active player who completed the square does not build a monument as part of his current action, then the tiles are not turned face-down, and no monument can be built on that square later.
The four face-down tiles still count as part of regions and kingdoms, joining leaders and tiles. However, they no longer count for any other functions, e.g. as supporters in conflicts.
Monuments, once built, cannot be destroyed.
When four temples are turned face-down to build a monument, then the following applies: If a treasure lies on one of the temples, it remains on that face-down tile. If a leader loses the last temple in the immediate neighbourhood, then that leader is returned to the player.
By turning the temples face-down, one leader loses the last temple in the immediate neighbourhood. The leader is returned to the player.
Monuments regularly generate victory points
At the end of his turn the active player determines if one or more of his leaders are in the same kingdom as monuments of a like colour. For each such link the active player receives one victory point in the respective colour. As a monument has two colours, it may generate victory points for two leaders.
A king will only receive a victory point when linked to a black monument. Note that, the action Place a tile allows a king to be awarded victory points in other colours in the absence of the respective leaders. This does not apply for monuments.
At the end of his turn the Bull player is awarded a black victory point. At the end of the Archer player's turn, he is awarded a red victory point.
(Can be initiated through the actions Position a leader or Place a tile.)
At the beginning of the game, ten treasures were placed on the first ten temples on the board. They are distribution in the following way:
If a kingdom contains more than one treasure at the end of a player's action, then the possessor of the trader in that kingdom is awarded with all but one of these treasures. He has a free choice of which treasures to take. However, those treasures on the four corner temples on the board must be a player's preferred choice, if possible.
If there is no trader in the kingdom, then the treasures remain there until the kingdom has a trader.
The Lion player places the blue tile. Firstly the Bull player receives a blue victory point. Then the Lion player takes the upper treasure because the trader in the kingdom belongs to him. He must choose the upper treasure as it is one of the four corner treasures.
Each treasure is one "wild" victory point. At the end of the game, its owner may allocate each treasure individually to a colour of his choice (see scoring example).
The game ends if, at the end of a player's turn, there are only one or two treasures remaining on the board. The game also ends when all tiles in the bag are exhausted and a player is unable to refresh his tiles to 6. This can happen through the action Swap up to 6 tiles or at the end of a player's turn.
At this point the players remove their screens. Players compare the number of victory points in their respective weakest spheres. Treasures are freely allocated to any sphere. The player whose weakest sphere compares best with the others is the winner. In the case of a tie, the involved players compare their second weakest spheres, and so on. Complicated? Not so, as the following scoring example illustrates:
The Potter dynasty wins! The Potter player has succeeded in allocating his three treasures in such a way to achieve 11 victory points as his weakest result. The Lion player is second. He has had to allocate his three treasures to farms in order to achieve 10 victory points there, the same score as he has in temples. The Bull player also achieved 10 victory points in settlements, as well as in temples. But his third weakest sphere counts 11 victory points in farms, whereas the Lion player achieved 12 in settlements. Hence the Bull player comes third. The Archer player has neglected temples. His 6 victory points plus 3 treasures are insufficient. Even his 22 victory points in settlements do not prevent him from coming last.
First round example:
Andrew begins the game. He positions two of his leaders on the board: king and priest. In this way he creates two kingdoms.
Barbara first of all positions her farmer and extends one of the kingdoms created by Andrew. Then she places a blue tile onto the adjoining river space. For this she receives a blue victory point. (Farmer and tile are of like colours, and she possesses the farmer.) She refreshes one tile from the bag (not shown).
David positions his king and creates a new kingdom. Then he places a temple and receives a red victory point. Why? There is no priest in the kingdom (matching the colour of the temple). Hence, the possessor of the king is awarded the victory point. Note that David has placed his temple in such a way that his king has now got two temples in the immediate neighbourhood. Safety first! David refreshes one tile.
Karen has drawn four temples at the beginning and feels aggressive. As her first action, she positions her priest in the same kingdom as Andrew's priest. A conflict arises. On the board, both players have one temple - the same - in support of their leaders. Karen adds 3 extra temples from behind her screen. Andrew refrains from adding any extra temples. At most, he could add an extra 2, not enough to tie with Karen. Karen wins (4 to 1), her extra temples are discarded face-down and are out of the game. Andrew must withdraw his priest. Karen receives one red victory point for winning the conflict. As her second action, Karen places her fourth temple on the board and receives another red victory point. Then she refreshes 4 tiles from the bag. Now it is Andrew's turn again...
In order to restrict the opportunity to discard extra tiles during a conflict which do not influence its resolution, the following variant may be adopted: The attacker may only add extra temples or supporters if thereafter his total exceeds the current strength of the defender. If he has no chance of winning the conflict, he may not add any extra tiles. The defender may only add extra temples or supporters in order to win the conflict by establishing a tie. No more, no less!
For countless playtests, comments and suggestions, the author and the publisher would like to thank Iain Adams, Chris Bowyer, Gunthart von Chiari, John Christian, Andrew Daglish, Chris Dawe, Paul Evans, David Farquhar, Martin Higham, Ross Inglis, Kevin Jacklin, Tina Köther, Chris Lawson, Alex Martell, Werner Müller, Andreas and Karen Seyfarth, Daniel Steel, Andreas Trieb, Jo Weigand, Clemens Wildemann, Hannes Wildner and Tony Wright. Special thanks go to Dieter Hornung for his untiring commitment to enhancing the game.
© 1997 Hans im Glück Verlags-GmbH. English translation by Kevin Jacklin and Reiner Knizia.
Thanks also to Doris Matthäus, the illustrator and graphic designer of the game and rulebook.
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