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Tower of Babel» Forums » Strategy

Subject: How to play Tower of Babel ?? rss

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Maciej Teległow
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I am after 5 plays and still can see nothing about ways to win. What you people do to win here ?? All our plays were very chaotic. I have the feeling that i am not able to influence the game. Off course i try to do some things but there is so little control about all that chaos that i can't see any idea to play it reasonably.
What i do not:
i rarely pass and nearly allways offer some cards. I start to think that the key here is to wait and build the hand, then go for specific targets. What You think ??
i do not remember exactly who is collecting which discs and does he collect them or rather want to get majority of houses in the wonder. Start to think i am too much focused on my own strategy, which have to be broken without that infos. What You think ??
What I do:
I choose two colours and try to buy disks of that colours to get set of four in one of them, and in the same time, to get some houses in that wonders. Start to think it is not very clever. How to really maximise getting points here ?? I was thinking that buying 2 things for the same cards would be good, but that does not work. What would You advise ??

Start to think that (as in Beowulf) the key element here is to pass some wonders (maybe try to get one house there)and build hand to have some power, and then, maybe in the half of the game try to attack with big sets of cards during offering: to get what i want or big amount of points. Maybe the best way is to wait until 8-10 disks are bought and then with the good hand, go for the best opportunities ??

Please help. Now the game for me is pure chaos. It is Knizia game so i am almost sure that there is some real ways to clever thinking in it.

Many people here thinks that Beowulf is pure chaos, i know that the trueth is different. What about Tower of Babel ??
 
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Marshall P.
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"Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" - Theodosius Dobzhansky
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There is grandeur in this view of life, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
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I think the key to the game is to be contrarian, do the opposite of what most people are doing. For example, in my group the tendency is to try to collect building chips (until recently this has been my tendency too). I think a person could run away with the game by accepting Trader offers with these people.

Whereas, if everybody was trying to score off the wonders I think collecting building chips could be a killer tactic.

I also try to never offer my last card in a suit. It is too painful to have to make a null offer so try to never run out of cards. The best way to do this is once you are down to one card in a give suit offer the Trader with it, probably no one will accept. Obviously there comes a time in the endgame where you need to make a push for certian goals and you may very well spend all your cards, it's better to do that then to fail in a build for example.
 
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Allen Doum
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The three main methods of scoring points seem to be very balanced, so your problem could be that you are trying to find the wrong kind of strategy, i.e. something that "always works".

I have seen wins by refusals, where someone built up a large hand and made offers with the traders. In the next game that strategy lost, as the other players learned to accept those offers occasionally to deplete that players hand.

There are also wins by controlling the Wonders by accepting a trader deal on your turn to place more pieces. Others by collecting disks. But keep in mind that each additional disc is only worth 5 more points until you get four of a kind.

The advice to try to be doing what the other players aren't is fine, but once everyone in your group sees that, what is the "something else" then?

I see ToB as a great "tactical" game, where you make most of deciisons based on the situation of the moment. The strategic decision of which disks to go for is another place where doing what the others aren't pays off. If too many players are trying for the same type of disc, it will pay off poorly for all of them.

The tactics depend on your ability to make bids that will not only get you what you want, but give the player whose turn it is what he wants. Ask yourself, "Why did he pick that disc? What is he trying to do?".

Then you might find a bid that helps both him and you. And is better than the other players trying to do the same thing.

Or you might find a bid that gets you points by not helping, by making him "an offer he can't accept".

You can even bid nothing occasionally in order to sabatoge the collection of the disc if you, and the others, don't think he has enough cards.

Don't be afraid to pass, if you need to build up your hand. It is not a bad thing, because it means that either you have been putting pieces on the board, or collecting discs.

One tactical mistake is trying always to prevent the player on your left from completing a wonder. That may force him to let the next player to complete them. Let the completion cards get spread around.

This has become my favorite 3 player game.
 
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Scott Nelson
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I'll have to agree with the masses- the few that are there.
I have won and I have lost using the same strategy. Ditto for others.
In this game, because things are going to be different game to game, you have to use tactics instead of strategy. I usually know from what a player(s) have just offered and rejected, or accepted, if I should offer a lot of cards and add the trader or not. If i can keep my cards and get some points, that is nice. If it is going to finish the wonder by taking my cards and giving up a few points (depending on the disc), they might do it to score more points(especially if it is near end game cuz more points for given for later wonder completion. So, there you go, another who jumps on the band wagon as "It is tactical not strategic." One of my favorite 3-4 games, and 5player games are better with some card control variants, but still isn't the same "feel" as the "wonder"-ful 3 or 4 player game. Seems like it will become one of those hard to find games that everyone will look hard for when it goes out of print after someone posts something it that sparks an interest about it and everyone wants it.
 
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Dick Hunt
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I just played my first two games of Tower Of Babel yesterday, both of them 3-player games. Both ended the same way--the winner was easily the guy who was most effective at collecting discs. In fact, we were wondering if that was the whole point of the game, and that building the wonders was a red herring.

It seems especially so early in the game, when you work like a dog to build wonders and only get 8 or 10 points for first place. It's even worse when you tie for first, you each get 2nd place points for your troubles, and the slob who just threw in one token gets 3 points--just two less than the supposed "first place" finishers who each tossed in 4 or 5 tokens.

After the first game, we quickly caught on that you couldn't fall way behind in disc collecting while concentrating on wonder building. I did that and finished last by a huge margin. My leaving most of the discs to my evil foes made it too easy for them to gather 3- and 4-of-a-kind sets for huge points. I was hoping that finishing first or second in most of the completed wonders would be worth more than collecting a pile of discs, but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case!

Okay, so in the second game, I paid more attention to my discs, collecting about the same number of them as the other players did. It still boiled down to the one guy who was able to get a 4-of-a-kind set; a close-looking game was blown open during final scoring because he was the only one who had a set of discs worth 20 points.

If collecting disc sets efficiently is more important than building wonders, that seems quite counter-intuitive to me. My biggest problem with it is that it turns Tower Of Babel from a fun board game into just another memory contest. The guy who's better at keeping mental track of what discs everyone is collecting is probably going to win most of the time. That's not a prospect that thrills me at all. I don't particularly enjoy games that reward people simply for having good memories of "hidden but trackable" information, probably because I suck at doing that myself. To me, such games are about as much fun as wrestling would be to someone half my size, or playing basketball against someone two feet shorter than I am. Games that reward one's physical attributes (height, weight, good memory, etc) are more trouble than they're worth because I have to search for opponents at the same "skill level" as I am in order to have a truly enjoyable game.

I may try my next session of Tower Of Babel with everyone's disc collections being face up after they collect them. That would make disc collecting a bit dry, of course, but it seems like the game would be more of a contest of trading skills rather than simply trying to remember who's collecting what so I'll know when to make them offers they can't refuse...
 
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