Scholars Of The South Tigris Review
Scholars of the South Tigris is the second in the South Tigris series. The first being Wayfarers and the last will be Inventors (at time of writing not yet released). This is a game all about dice. Their manipulation and use as workers to try and bump yourself up tracks and generally gain a lot of victory points. This is set during the height of the Abbasid Caliphate (830AD), a time when the keenest minds were called upon to acquire and translate scientific manuscripts from all over the world. In this game, you will be trying to be the player with the most victory points by translating scrolls, increasing knowledge in the various scientific arenas and influencing the three guilds.
This is a pretty meaty game in terms of strategy. It is “heavy”, and so it is likely to appeal mostly to those that are really heavily into board games. This is a typical Euro game in that you are trying your best to manage your resources and get the best you possibly can out of each turn, trying to produce resources and manage these to eventually turn them into points.
Scholars of the South Tigris centres around the translation of scrolls into Arabic from a selection of other languages; Persian, Greek, Syriac, Chinese, Hebrew and Sanskrit. In order to translate a scroll, you must pay translators on the board in gold. If you use your own translators then no further payment is required, but you will pay a silver coin to use neutral or opponent translators. This will often be necessary as scrolls are your scoring objective cards and collecting a lot of these will pay handsomely in victory points in final scoring.
The other thing that you will want to be doing is bumping up tracks. You need to climb the coloured tracks not only for points, but for in game benefits each time you rest as well. The higher you can climb up the tracks the sweeter the rewards.
Artwork And Components
Generally, all of Garphill Games products have great artwork and this is no different. The illustration is done by The Mico (Mihajlo Dimtrievski) and features a broad selection of different ethnicities and genders within the translator cards.
Despite being quite beige heavy in theme, this whole game is about colours and the graphic design really pops. The dice are brightly coloured and the primary dice are opaque unlike the translucent secondary coloured dice which I found visually very quick to distinguish from one another.
These games tend to be quite heavy in iconography, and this one is especially heavy. There is an iconography glossary on the back of the rule book that it is probably useful to keep out on the table whilst you play.
If you are looking for a heavy game to join your collection and have enjoyed any of Garphill Games’ previous works then in my humble opinion this is a no-brainer. I think it is absolutely fantastic. If you have yet to try a Garphill Games game, then I still think this could be for you if you commit the time to getting your head around the icons then it should be a pretty quick learn. I watched a playthrough first and can really recommend this as a way to learn faster.