The Hanging Gardens
English language edition of Die Hängenden Gärten
List Price: $34.95
Your Price: $27.95
(Worth 2,795 Funagain Points!)
from 3 customer reviews
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The hanging gardens were one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, as all history courses teach. But, did they actually exist? Nothing remains of their reported splendor, which was built for the eyes of Amyitis.
Without an exact reference to follow, the 2-4 players will re-establish the hanging gardens according to their own tastes.
Card follows card with magnificent buildings, sparkling fountains, and exotic plants as the players work to rebuild the legendary gardens. In the end, the queen will be pleased and rewards the victory palm to the player whose work on the gardens most impresses her highness.
This is a game that my wife and I will likely play once a week for a long time to come. It's great for small get-togethers of up to 4 people because it's easy to learn.
The only attack element is to pick a card that someone else is looking for. Other than that players work pretty much independently. This is what my wife likes about the game. You're working on your own layout to match similar symbols in order to gain tiles which can be put together into sets for points. Once you learn the game, teaching it to others takes only a few minutes.
In mid-2008 I started noticing some of my buddies playing this little game quite a lot. It was one that I’d never really heard about, so it made me curious why it was getting played so much. Thankfully, a good friend brought a copy to our house and taught us how to play. It didn’t take long before it ascended to the top of my wishlist. And, after receiving a copy on my birthday, I’ve played it a lot.
What do you get with Hanging Gardens? In the box is a game board, a deck of building cards, 4 starting cards, a pile of scoring tiles, a start player marker, and 5 wooden temples in 4 different colors.
How does Hanging Gardens work? The tiles are shuffled and 6 of them are placed face-up on the board. Each player gets a starting card that has 6 squares of prepared land, and a set of temples. Each round 4 cards are flipped up (or 3 in a 3-player game). The cards depict a grid of 6 squares but some of the squares have buildings on them while others have more prepared land. Then player’s take turns selecting a card to place in their garden. The primary rule is that any buildings depicted on that card must be placed on top of land that has already been prepared. In other words a building can never hang off of other cards so that it would be touching the table underneath. Turns continue in this manner.
When a player places a card and it makes a group of 3 or more of the same type of building, the player may choose to score that grouping by placing a temple on one square of the group. Then the player gets to take a tile. If the group was 3 squares big the player can only choose from 2 of the face-up tiles, and if it was 4 they can choose from 4, and if it was 5 they can choose from all 6. If the group was 6 or more, they get any face-up tile and one face-down tile. The tiles score based on the number of like tiles you get according to a scale shown on the tile (for instance 1 tiger tile scores four points, but 2 of them score nine points, etc.) You continue playing rounds until all the cards have been used up, then players score their tiles and the high score wins.
What does Blott think of Hanging Gardens? I find Hanging Gardens to be one of the most enjoyable tile-laying games I have played. There’s a strategic depth in choosing whether to take tiles that you want or to grab ones that your opponent might need. There’s also a push-your- luck element because you can sit and wait on a scoring hoping for a bigger payout, but someone might grab the tile you were hoping for if you wait too long. Plus you are never sure if the tiles you really need are going to come up because you rarely go through all the tiles, so you’re often hedging your bets to optimize your odds of a big score. There’s also a healthy amount of strategy in the way you will lay your cards so that you can re-use tiles that were already scored.
Who will enjoy Hanging Gardens? I think this game is perfect for anyone that wants a light and easy tile-laying game that fits in a nice short amount of time. There’s more strategy than you might notice at first, and it also looks really nice. However, there is opportunity for some analysis-paralysis as players can sometimes puzzle for a few moments over what tile will best fit for them and what is the best arrangement. Also there is a luck element in when certain cards come up, and if you are lucky enough to see the tiles you really need. However there are ways to mitigate that luck, so I still think this could be a fun game for most groups.
Any parting comments about Hanging Gardens? I probably should mention that there is very little theme visible in this game. Supposedly you're building the hanging gardens, but it doesn't really feel like that. The only thing realistic is that you have to prepare ground before building upon it. Aside from that, there’s not much more I can say about this game. I love that the rules are easy to grasp, but the strategies are a little deeper. I’ve yet to play the game with only 2 players, but from what many have said it may be best with 2. It’s one that I will be pulling out regularly from now on because it has been a smash hit with most of the people we play games with.
I got this game after seeing the reviews for it. My Mom is addicted to the Ten Days games and I was looking for something else to play. So, far this game has become a great addition as we now have another choice besides Ten Days or Thurn and Taxis.
The rules however are not that easy. This is not a game you open the box, scan the rules and play it - such as you could with Apples to Apples or Boom Town. The rules are more like Thurn and Taxis. You will have to read them and study them a bit to get them. If may also take you a game or two to become completely comfortable with how the game works especially the scoring tiles.
This complexity though is an adventage to the game. For as you understanding increases the more you want to play the game. Like Take It Easy you keep wanting to play to get better at it. This game does look like it will have great staying power like Witch's Brew. I don't think it will become a game that will fade like some have such as Citadels or Incan Gold which after playing for awhile become routine.
Why only three stars? This is a slower thinking game (more chess like and not poker) that is great for family play but, might not work for social group play. There is very little inter action between players. The game only supports a small number of players which again doesn't make it workable for large groups. So, if you are looking a small game to play with a steady group of people add a star.
The biggest problem though so far is the game is too short. Never thought I would complain about that. You get a large number of scoring tiles but, not enough time to collect sets which can make scoring at the end uneven. One person can be lucky and get all the tiles they need and another one doesn't. We also came up aganist a time when no one wanted to pick up any tiles. So, borrowing from Taxis and Turn we used the power of the adminstor and cleared the tiles and put new ones up. We also have plans to keep our scoring tiles and play a second round just to see how that works. I do see how though the difficulty of putting sets together is part of the game's complexity.