Wayfarers of the South Tigris is a game that takes place in the Abbasid Caliphate, around 820 AD. In this game, players assume the roles of explorers, cartographers, and astronomers, as they venture out from Baghdad to map the surrounding land, waterways, and skies above. The main goal is to score the most Victory Points by upgrading caravans, gaining inspiration, and influencing the three guilds of science, trade, and exploration. The game is played over several rounds until a player reaches the far right column of the Journal Track.
1-4 players, ages 12+
Playing time: 60-90 minutes
Designers: S J Macdonald & Shem Phillips
Artwork: The Mico
Publisher: Garphill Games
🌞 Each turn, players can choose to place a die, place a worker, or take a rest action. The game features five types of cards: Land, Water, Space, Inspiration, and Townsfolk. Land and Water cards have various tags, which dictate where they go on the tableau and what benefits they provide. Space cards have different icons, some of which offer immediate effects, while others provide end-game VPs. Inspiration cards provide goals to achieve and multiply VPs. Townsfolk cards require specific tags, and players must pay a cost to acquire them.
📜 Influence tokens play an essential role in the game, allowing players to place an influence on guilds or cards. Placing influence on guilds gives end-game VP and can be spent once per turn to boost specific actions.
🗺️ Journaling is another crucial aspect of the game, which enables players to move up the Journal Track and receive bonuses. Upgrade tiles can be used to enhance the power of dice, providing extra assets, discounts, or dice manipulations. Players can also place workers on cards to take actions, paying the required costs and activating bonuses.
🎖️ At the end of the game, players score points for sets of Land and Water tags, groups of the same tags, space and inspiration cards, caravan upgrades, and guild majorities. The player with the highest score wins the game!
🏞️ As a fan of Garphill Games’ previous releases, I couldn’t wait to dive into Wayfarers of the South Tigris, and boy, was I in for a treat! This game has a neat mix of mechanisms, combining dice and worker placement, set collection, and engine building. The variety of cards ensures that no two games are ever the same, and the artwork by the Mico is simply stunning. As you build your tableau, you’ll have a beautiful panorama in front of you.
📚 However, I must admit that the game can be overwhelming at first, and it takes a while to get used to all the iconography. But once you do, it’s an incredibly challenging game with different ways to victory. The possibility of analysis paralysis is always there, as there are so many options and things to keep in mind.
💡 The game revolves around the Journal Track, which is where players move towards the far right column to trigger the end of the game. To advance on the track, players must meet increasingly challenging requirements, which forces you to spread your actions across different symbols and elements. You really want to move up the Journal Track to get the available bonuses.
🎲 One of the things that I enjoyed most about the game is the ability to upgrade dice. It’s a fun puzzle that allows you to assign symbols and get discounts for specific actions. Nevertheless, getting everything you need to execute your strategy correctly can be challenging.
💭 Overall, Wayfarers of the South Tigris is a fantastic game that offers a lot of replayability. It requires careful planning and strategic thinking, but the payoff is well worth it. One minor downside for me is the insert, which I didn’t find very practical, especially when storing the box vertically. If you’re a fan of challenging games with a variety of mechanics, then Wayfarers of the South Tigris is definitely worth checking out.