Author: Reiner Knizia


Awards: none



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game :

Der Turmbau zu Babel is a typical Knizia game. It is easy to learn, makes a lot of fun and has a tricky new element in the game, which guarantees long-term joy. The game material is quite fine. The board is designed in blue, grey, light violet colours that are very pleasant to my mind. It surely sets contrasts to a lot of other latest games. All scoring elements are part of the one and only board. In the middle of this board eight world wonders of the antique are painted in light brown, light-grey colours. As in many other games the score track is along the board. In another part you can find two other score tables and a track to record the players order in a turn. In additionto the board the game contains wooden temples in five colours (one colour for each player) and two dimensions (the bigger temple is worth three of the small temples), columns and a lot of cards, divided in action and building cards.

The rules of Der Turmbau zu Babel are straightforward. At the beginning three building discs are placed randomly on each world wonder. These disks show the necessary building material and number of this material. All players take the temples of their chosen colour, one special changing card, four building cards and the column of their colour. The active player - that is the player who has his column on the board in the lowest position - has two possible actions in his turn. First he can pass, normally not the best choice, or he can build. If he passes he first draws two building cards and puts his column in the top position on the board. Then all other players get a building card, too.

If he chooses to build he first of all selects one of the wonders by placing his column on this wonder. After that, he takes one of the building disks on these wonder. Then all other players make offers to the active player with their building cards. All players reveal their offer simultaneously. The players may only play building cards that show the same material of the chosen building disk. They may however add the changing card.

The active player decides which bids he accepts and which he refuses. He always has to accept the whole bid of a player, single cards (e.g. the changing card) are not allowed. There are two limitations: he may only accept one offer with a changing card and the sum of the materials on the cards may not exceed the necessary material on the building disk. When he has chosen, he must fill the material cards to the necessary number, if that is possible for him. Then all chosen players place as many temples as the number of played cards on this wonder and the active player takes the building disk. If a player with a changing card was chosen, this player gets the disk and the active player puts temples on the board instead of the chosen player. All chosen and the active player put their building cards on the stack. The players however, whose offer was refused, take their cards back on hand and they receive a victory point for every card they offered.

Scoring takes place whenever a wonder is completed, that is, when the last building disk of this wonder is given to a player. The player with the most temples on these wonder gets as many victory points as are indicated on the value table on the board, the second half of this points and all other player, who at least have one temple on this wonder get three points. Then the marker on the value table is moved one step down. So the wonders become more valuable during the game. Starting from eight victory points for the player with the most temples, the reward is increased up to 20 for the last wonder completed. The player who caused the scoring gets an additional action card, giving him some bonus during the game.

Reiner Knizia once again has created a beautiful game, which is definitely worth of playing. Due to the high interaction between the players, there there is no room for boredom at any time. This and the clear scoring mechanism make the game one of the year's best in my opinion. I must confess that I am really a little bit surprised how Knizia creates all these new ideas on high level over all the years. Of course the game play is not completely different from other games. But almost every game of Knizia has some new element. Here it is very interesting to make an offer, which will have the highest positive effect in the end. You always have to consider what your opponents' interests could be and which offer the active player will accept. Der Turmbau zu Babel is balanced quite well and will give more joy than just for one or two rounds. There is also a small variant changing the game a little bit if you are fed up with the original rules. The game takes about one hour, so several rounds can be played on a single evening, which is in my experience very important, if you are meeting with people who do not play very often. The first round can be used for learning and the second then is the real game. In my opinion the design fits to the theme of the antique world wonders and I like it very much. So as you can see, I recommend testing it to everyone, but of course especially to Knizia fans.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

[Gamebox Index]


Copyright © 2005 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Trier, Germany