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Review Wayfarers of the South Tigris

Review Wayfarers of the South Tigris

Games from Garphill Games are my favorite. I’ve played through the expansions for Circadians: First Light, Viscounts West Kingdom, and Architects of the West Kingdom. Although I haven’t read them all, I do own Paladins of the West Kingdom and Raiders of the North Sea. Of course, I’m a big article! I jumped at the chance to give Tony a review copy of Wayfarers of the South Tigris. Does it deserve to stay in my collection or should it go into a river, er, a lake?

Overview of the Gameplay

Wayfarers of the South Tigris

Wayfarers of the South Tigris is a worker placement, dice placement, tile placement, set collection, and influence majority game for one to four players that involves <nearly passes out>. Games last between one and two hours, depending on how many people are playing and how experienced they are. It occupies a significant amount of table area, particularly when there are more players and when tableaus get larger.

Each player takes one of the following actions throughout their turn, which varies in the number of turns in the game:

  • Roll a die: To create assets, dice are rolled on a player’s caravan or previously held cards.
  • Position a worker: To initiate the activity in the card slot on the board, workers are positioned on unclaimed cards surrounding the board.
  • Rest: The player can take a Journaling action, shift ALL of their dice to their supply, and reroll them if they have one or no dice in their supply.

When the first player completes the Journal track, the game is over. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

  • Play Experience: How did I find Wayfarers of the South Tigris? I felt conflicted. While I like parts of the game, I was baffled by a few of the design decisions.

My Wayfarers of the South Tigris

Wayfarers of the South Tigris

Wayfarers of the South Tigris could be the right choice for you if you’re searching for a Euro with lots of possibilities. It doesn’t appear like there are very many options—you can “only” place a worker, place a death, or place a rest. The bread and butter of Wayfarers is not so much the quantity of options as it is the time of when to perform each action.

To Begin, Let’s Roll a Die

What you can do with your dice is determined by your player board and the caravan that comes with it. The assets and other options in the column that match its face will be awarded to the die face that is placed.

  • After that, you can roll the dice in a slot that corresponds to the asset or assets won
  • In addition to the default spaces on your player board at the beginning of the game, dice placement locations can also be found on water and land cards that you earn during play
  • The asset(s) needed for the space you want to use MUST be earned by the die-face

Caravan Customization and Dice Placement Strategy

Wayfarers of the South Tigris

You can modify your caravan by obtaining upgraded tiles and adding them to it to facilitate dice placement. The goal of this straightforward polyomino problem is to maximize the upgrades in each dice face column. In addition to other capabilities like obtaining Silver or deducting expenses, this will increase the asset(s) that a die face can access. Lastly, Townsfolk cards you have collected in earlier turns that are tucked under a water or land card can grant you extra advantages if you are using a dice placement space on that card.

Dice Mechanics: Transforming Rolling into a Minigame

Wayfarers transforms the typically straightforward operation of rolling a dice into a minigame unto itself. Because you can change not just the die face’s outputs through the caravan but also the benefits gained through your townspeople cards, it has the sense of a sandbox die placement game. Your enjoyment of Wayfarers will depend on how much you value the design’s openness.

Wayfarers’ Distinct Workplacement Mechanisms

Wayfarers’ worker placement mechanism is very different from traditional board games; it’s more like the die placement action:

Ability Determination by Color Initially

A worker’s ability is based on their color rather than their owner (think Raiders of the North Sea).

The Placement of Cards in Position

Second, employees are arranged on the cards across the board, activating the function of the slot in which the card is located.

Purchasing By Using a Card

Third, if you find a card bearing their name, you get the employee. This special mechanism deepens the strategy in a way that is similar to the trade-off between the need to act and the possibility of giving your opponent a useful worker.

Strategic Points to Remember

  • Managing Risk and Reward: In a similar vein to Raiders, players must consider the necessity of acting versus giving opponents access to important workers should they obtain the card first.
  • Reliable Resource Acquisition: As opposed to the possible unpredictability of dice rolls, the placement of workers offers a reliable method of obtaining resources or activities.
  • Variable Worker Availability: Because of the way workers are acquired throughout the game, some players may only have one worker or none at all, while others may have a big number.

In general, this original approach to staff placement heightens the gameplay experience in Wayfarers by introducing levels of tension and strategy.

The Multi-faceted Resting Choice

Not unexpectedly, there are multiple components to the resting choice. “Clear your spaces and collect your workers” is not enough. You do not receive any workers because no one owns a certain color, but it DOES clean your dice and let you reroll them to use on your subsequent turn. While you’re sleeping, you can also gather resources.

Journaling: A Key Component

Journaling is the most crucial component of taking a break. Only when you are at rest can you use Journaling to move your player marker across the board? You receive the bonus(es) in the space you move to when you move across the board.

Conditional Advancement

Following your initial move, additional moves contain conditions, such as influencing cards or particular tags, that must be fulfilled to advance to the next place.

Beyond Standard Clean-up

  • The fact that the Resting action is more than just your standard clean-up action is something I liked about it
  • In addition, a lot of the actions, like the Journaling action on your player board, call for you to have either one or zero unplayed dice in your supply
  • Players are unable to perform one or two easy tasks, rest, and then repeat as a result

An Overview of Influence Mechanics

Garphill has announced that all games in Wayfarers of the South Tigris series will use Influence, a novel mechanism that debuted in Wayfarers. You can align your influence markers with one of three guilds via influence.

Qualifications for Journals and Guild Status

You fulfill Journal requirements by using your guild standing. End-game scoring will be determined by who in a guild has the greatest influence.

Adaptability and One-Time Incentives

The ability to trade guild influence for one-time bonuses gives the game an extra level of strategic decision-making.

What Caused Me to Desire to Be Engaged in a Different Garphill Game

In contrast to earlier Garphill games, I didn’t find Wayfarer to be elegant. I thought the caravan and building the power of each die face were great ideas, but it seemed like there were too many options tacked on or unnecessary for some design choices:

  • You might have rolled a 5 and wanted a 3, for example, and it was unnecessary to worry about which column your die should end up in
  • Additionally, the effects of the Townsfolk cards seemed a bit excessive
  • Although there were five different card types, it felt like more than most games to figure out how much each one cost
  • Except for land and water cards, which just require the cost of the action, there is a cost associated with acquiring the cards
  • While Space cards’ Silver costs are determined by the slot they are in, Townsfolk cards have an extra fixed Silver cost printed on them
  • Journaling is how inspiration cards are obtained. Once more, this seemed excessive

Increasing Gameplay Complexity

Although I like games with tags (such as Terraforming Mars and Ark Nova), this one seems to have too many of them. In total, there are eleven Tags. As “primary” tags, four of them are utilized to score both unique sets when multiples of the same type are present. You can also utilize these four tags and two more to find out if a Townsfolk card can be tucked. It is not possible to obtain a Townsfolk card if your display lacks the necessary Tags. Lastly, they are also required to fulfill Journaling standards, which further complicates Journaling—particularly when there are fewer players involved (more on this in a moment).

Problems with Journaling Advancement

The possibility of getting “trapped” when journaling was another thing I disliked. If you don’t fit the specifications of the space or spaces next to your existing space, you can’t move. I know that planning for this is a part of the game, but card drawings and dice rolls are random, so mid-game objectives that appear doable may not materialize. You may also find yourself stranded for multiple turns trying to find the conditions required to advance in your journal.

  • Although it is the end-game trigger, I am aware that going the entire way across the board is not necessary to win
  • A person has to finish the task. Additionally, when there are fewer players, there is less card turnover
  • Having the necessary Tags appear in the available cards is less likely as a result, especially compared to higher player numbers

Last Word

It was hard for me to review Wayfarers of the South Tigris. A good design is indicated by the vast amount of alternatives available for such basic operations as “place a worker, place a die, and rest.” However, the lack of elegance, which is a hallmark of Garphill’s game designs, prevented it from being truly magnificent. Indeed, their complexity has increased with time (compare Raiders of the North Sea with all of its expansions to Paladins), but this almost looks overly complicated. I am aware of the positive reviews this game has received, and I can see why—the sandbox-like aspect of creating your engine is rather special. Unfortunately, even though I like Wayfarers, I wouldn’t suggest it as a Garphill game.