Friday, June 21, 2024

‘Wayfarers of the South Tigris’ Starts Garphill’s New Series With A Bang

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Wayfarers of the South Tigris is the first chapter of a new trilogy series. The game is designed by S J Macdonald and Shem Phillips and published by Garphill Games and Renegade Games. Scholars of the South Tigris will follow in 2023, and Inventors of the South Tigris is finish the series in 2024. It is the third such shared “universe” after Garphill’s “West Kingdom” and “North Sea” series.

It is set around 820AD, and players play as explorers, cartographers, and astronomers trying to map out the surroundings. Players manage their workers and equipment and report back to journal their findings at the House of Wisdom. You are trying to impress the Caliph and gain the most points in the game, which is primarily gained by mapping the land, water, and sky. The game can be played with 1-4 players, and takes about an hour and half to play. Renegade Games has been coming out with one smash hit after another, so check out what else we have covered by Renegade Games, including another Shem Phillips title: Hadrian’s Wall.

What’s In The Box?

  • 20 Dice (5 in each color)
  • 60 Influence Markers (15 in each color)
  • 4 Player Markers
  • 62 Upgrade Tiles (4 of each in yellow, blue, black, and green. 1 of each pink)
  • 12 Workers (4 in each color)
  • 10 Journal Tiles
  • 48 Silver
  • 48 Provisions
  • 36 Townsfolk Cards
  • 36 Land Cards
  • 36 Water Cards
  • 36 Space Cards
  • 16 Inspiration Cards
  • 6 Scheme Cards (for solo)
  • 3 Double-sided Main Board Sections
  • 4 Double-sided Player Boards

How’s It Play?

Players will be trying to score the most points in the game by collecting cards, taking actions, and collecting resources. Players begin the game only knowing how to score some points from some basics, but as the game goes on will choose cards that will add additional ways to score points. On a turn, players will either place a die, a worker, or take the rest action.

Wayfarers of the South Tigris dice and workers

When using a die, it can be used only for the actions with symbols shown below its number on its grid. Tiles can then be added to the grid to give each number additional spots where it can be used. The icons added and used to take actions are camel, ship, telescope, and pigeon. Players can gain dice as the game goes on, and the player can regain them when taking the rest action.

When using a worker meeple, it can be used to be placed out on cards to take the action shown above it on the board. When these workers are used, they stay out on that card until a player chooses to take the card from a different action, netting a card and a worker to be used at any time. Different colored workers can be used to be placed on specific type of cards, with some being more flexible than others. 

When resting, a player will gather their dice to use again, gather some resources, and advance along the journal track. 

Wayfarers of the South Tigris dice assignment to take actions

Players will be expanding their grid to help their dice do more actions. Players will be adding influence on guilds to have the most influence on them for points at the end of the game, but also remove influence to take special actions. Players will add cards that will expand their land area, their sea area, and their sky area. Some cards can add additional actions that certain icons will grant when a die is placed on that spot. Other cards will be tucked underneath action cards that will reward extra resources or abilities. 

The other part of this game is trying to move your journal marker down the track to gain workers or more dice, or other actions by completing shown requirements of having specific icons or types of cards. The journal track has pathways that will lead to other future requirements, and planning on where and how you move your marker on this track will help you to continue to move it. As you move your marker, the actions and bonuses you gain get better as you progress on the track. 

Wayfarers of the South Tigris journal track

End game points is determined by your cards. Set collection from land and water tags, space cards and achieved inspiration cards, tiles with points, and guild majorities. The player with the most points wins the game.

The Verdict

Wayfarers of the South Tigris is pretty intimidating at first, but if you can take the time to figure out how to play the game, then chances are you will like it. This is mostly because this is a great game, and if you end up taking the time, then you probably don’t mind higher complexity games, and then you will see all the great things this game can do and what it offers.

Wayfarers of the South Tigris uses dice placement in a way where you can plan and guide your dice to take the actions you might want to. Want to play heavy in a certain action? Well that’s fine, you can place tiles so that most of your dice all have the ability to take that action. These tiles also include other strategies like being able to change the value up or down. Or giving discounts of money or provisions when using that die to do an action that costs those resources. So, the game includes many ways to manipulate the dice to take different actions you might want to take. 

Wayfarers of the South Tigris board and cards

Your also not just placing dice as workers, but workers as workers and these are lost and gained by others. It might be worth taking a different card because you can gain a worker in addition when taking that card, or you ignore that worker, and continue with a card that helps your strategy or helps you move on the journal track. Sometimes its great to gain workers, other times its easy to get distracted and set you back a little for a worker you really didn’t need.

Gaining influence on guilds can also be incorporated with your strategy. You can spend your influence to take actions to let you be more flexible. This can help you when you are stuck with only actions you don’t want to take as well. Then whoever has the most influence on each guild at the end of the game, scores some extra points. Influence is not just added to guilds, but also added to cards. When another player interacts with that card by acquiring it or placing a worker on it, then they will need to pay a coin or provision.

Wayfarers of the South Tigris dice as workers

Wayfarers includes a lot of ways where player interaction is used, like racing on the journal track, taking cards before others do, and marking cards with influence. Even though there is competition with these things, I feel like players have many options to do what they want to do even with these walls. 

Wayfarers of the South Tigris uses a lot of icons, like many of their other games. The journal track specifically uses  probably all the icons in the game, but you will need to look downwards to plan to move down the track. After some plays, the icons should feel more natural and you should understand what they all mean. 

Wayfarers of the South Tigris workers are placed on cards

Wayfarers of the South Tigris rewards players who find good combos, and find a strong scoring method, and takes advantage of it. Remember, you can picking the cards while playing the game that give you the ways to score a lot of your points. So finds the cards that list a specific way to score points, and then forming a tableau where you continue to score those points is one of the unique mechanics about this game.

The artwork continues to follow the style of all other games including art from The Mico. The components are pretty standard, with colored dice as workers, wooden meeples, a bunch of cards and multiples boards.

Wayfarers of the South Tigris guilds and area majority

You can grab a copy of Wayfarers of the South Tigris from the Renegade shop, the Garphill Games shop, Amazon, or your FLGS at an MSRP of $60.00!

Images via Garphill Games and Renegade Games

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