Tower of Babel
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Together, the players build the eight wonders of the ancient world. While building together, each tries to provide the majority of the components for each wonder and collect scoring tiles. Together, these things earn the players victory points. And, the victory points determine the winner at game end.
This is a good game that doesn't last too long but has some strategy. Nice to get it at this great price. I'll be getting mine out to play again.
Tower of Babel is easy to learn, lasts less than 1 hour, and has lots of player interaction. It's also fun and serves as a highly accessible medium-weight game. Players are competing and cooperating to build the 8 Wonders of the Ancient World. The game uses a combination of blind offering, area-majority, and set collection to present many options to the players. You can skip to the Conclusions if you're not interested in reading how to play.
The bits consist of resource and action cards, cardboard building discs, and 2 sizes of wooden temples in the 5 player colors (red, blue, green, yellow, black). The board art is very subdued, picturing each of the 8 Ancient Wonders. The board also contains scoring charts for completed Wonders and collected disc sets, and a player scoring track on the outside. They're all nice and of good quality, and they don't detract from the game.
Cards in 4 colors (purple, white, brown, black) represent the 4 different resources (ships, stone cutters, camels, cranes) that must be used to build the Wonders. Numbered, colored discs each represent a stage of a Wonder, and indicate the requirements to build a stage (e.g. 3 purple cards, 5 black cards, etc.). Each of the 8 Wonders on the board has 3 discs. A Wonder is completed when all 3 stages have been built.
Each turn the active player selects a Wonder and a disc, and all the other players can offer resource cards to help build the stage. The active player can contribute cards once all offers are revealed. Accepted offers get the offering player 1 temple on the Wonder for each card. Rejected offers get the offering player 1 victory point for each card. The active player gets 1 temple on the Wonder for each card he/she contributed and keeps the building disc.
The offering players may also include their "trader" card in their resource card offer. When the active player accepts a "trader" offer, he places temples for the offered cards, and the offering player gets the building disc. Since there is only 1 disc, only 1 trade offer may be accepted each turn.
Once the final disc of a Wonder is built, players score points based on how many temples they have on the Wonder. First place yields twice the points as second place, and all other players with temples receive 3 points. The scoring increases for 1st and 2nd place for each completed Wonder, so late Wonders are worth more than early Wonders. The active player who completes a Wonder also receives a special action card that can give extra cards or victory points.
The game ends when the last disc of any one color is built. Thematically, this means at least one of the 8 Wonders will remain incomplete. At this point, players receive points for collecting sets discs of the same color: 5 points for a set of 2, 10 for a set of 3, and 20 for a set of 4 or more. Unfinished Wonders are scored for players with temples on them, but it is significantly less than finished Wonders late in the game.
My group really likes this game. Every player is involved on every turn. I had played it once before, and we finished our first game an hour after I opened the box, including explaining the game! So it is easy to introduce and it plays quickly.
Each player depends on the others to score points, either by being rejected, or by getting temples on completed wonders as often as possible.
You have many options. Do you want your offer to be accepted or rejected? Do you want the temples on the Wonder or the disc? How much or how little do you offer to get what you want? There are few easy and obvious choices here.
All in all, this is a very good game.